Tag Archives: Spain

Dancing with spiders: tarantellas and tarantism

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “There are always hysterical people undergoing extraordinary cures.” – Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man Etching of people dancing the tarantella and playing music as an antidote to a tarantula bite. Wellcome Collection. Public domain.   The industrial city of Taranto is in the “heel” of boot-shaped Italy. The Romans called […]

A tangled web: stealing newborns in twentieth-century Spain

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Newborn infant. Photo by United States Children’s Bureau, 1940s. National Library of Medicine Images from the History of Medicine. The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. “We were Europe’s baby supermarket and babies were stolen for sixty years.”1 — Inés Madrigal   Twentieth-century […]

The Queen’s quickening: the phantom pregnancies of Mary I

Eve Elliot Dublin, Ireland   Portrait of Queen Mary I of England by Anthonis Mor, 1554. Prado Museum, Madrid Spain. Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. In November 1554, the people of England believed a miracle had taken place. Resplendent on her new throne, Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII, proudly revealed that she was with […]

Guadalupe: one of Spain’s oldest schools of medicine

Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. The Monastery of Guadalupe. Main entrance. Photo by Rafa G. Recuero. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 ES. Guadalupe, a small Spanish town in the district of Cáceres, Extremadura, arose around a monastery. Legend says that a shepherd named Gil Cordero was looking for a stray sheep when […]

The intricate forest of the neuron

Silvia Maina Torino, Italia   Santiago Ramón y Cajal. A Purkinje neuron from the human cerebellum. [Wikimedia, Public Domain] Entering the room, I was welcomed by some small and attractive ink drawings. In the first, like a genealogical tree or a medieval miniature, thin branches stretched to fill the frame. In the second, waves of […]

Peter Panum and the “geography of disease”

Kathryne Dycus Madrid, Spain   Peter Panum. Scan from P. Hansens “Illustreret Dansk Litteraturhistorie”, anden meget forøgede udgave, 2. bind, 1902. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. In 1846, the Faroe Islands experienced an outbreak of measles, the likes of which had not been seen in sixty-five years. The Danish government called upon a newly graduated physician, […]

Hispanic, Latin, Latino, Latina, or Latinx?

Bernardo Ng Imperial County, California, United States   Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month Celebration 2019. Photo by CSUF Photos. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. The first time I became aware of a scientific group using the term Latinx was in 2018 during a meeting in Austin, Texas. It is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina that […]

Diego Rivera and Hernan Cortes

Nicolas Robles Badajoz, Spain   The author in Guadalupe, Mexico, with two local guides (on the left) and a Texan friend (on the right). Photo courtesy of the author. Diego Rivera was one of Mexico’s most famous artists. Nowadays he is also known for his marriage to Frida Kahlo, another great Mexican artist. Born in […]

E.T.A. Hoffmann’s neurological disease

Nicolás Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Hoffmann’s drawing of himself, riding on Tomcat Murr and fighting “Prussian bureaucracy.” From Klaus Günzel: Die deutschen Romantiker. Artemis, Zürich 1995, ISBN 3-7608-1119-1. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Ich bin das, was ich scheine, und scheine das nicht, was ich bin, mir selbst ein unerklärlich Rätsel, bin ich entzweit […]

Obesity in the Middle Ages: Sancho el Craso

Nicolás Roberto Robles   Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Imaginary portrait. Sancho I El Craso. José María Rodríguez de Losada. between circa 1892 and circa 1894. Public domain. Via Wikimedia. “Severe obesity restricts body movements and maneuvers . . . breathing passages become blocked and do not pass good air . . . these patients […]