Tag Archives: Summer 2014

Casanova: Patient Zero and other insights into sexual health in the 1700s

Beth Jarosz Washington, DC, United States   Portrait of Giacomo Casanova, 18th century Moscow State Historical Museum, Russia Giacomo Casanova, the infamous rake, is responsible for providing historians and anthropologists with a veritable treasure trove of historical health information. His life spanned from 1725 to 1798, and his memoir, Histoire de Ma Vie, recounts nearly […]

Chance in the origins of antibiotics

William Kingston Dublin, Ireland   The discovery of antibiotics has been described as the “domestication of microorganisms” and ranks in importance with the domestication of animals as part of settled agriculture about 10,000 years ago. It depends upon antagonism between bacteria, which had been noticed as early as 1874, and Pasteur commented then that if […]

Mean dudes and mean deeds: Tarantino’s vision

Bernardo Ng San Diego, California, USA     Cinema as an educational method for psychiatric trainees, medical students, and other mental health specialists has been successfully used for decades. Films portray mental illness and mental health problems in a variety of ways. Watching a film can be useful when learning to examine a patient, reach […]

The tree doctor

This is about a Frenchman living in Provence, at the foot of the Alps. He had lost his son and his wife, and lived alone, in solitude, as a shepherd, in a desolate area where there were no trees, nothing green, no grass, no bushes, only lavender. But he had many acorns and with a […]

Nabokov’s first masterpiece

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Gradually the lights disappeared, the phantoms grew sparser, and a wave of oppressive blackness washed over him.   Nabokov famously composed his novels on index cards. ‘I am rather particular about my instruments: lined Bristol cards and well sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.’ The Defense, a […]

“Super” heroes: Special powers in deaf characters

Paul Dakin London, United Kingdom Echo (Marvel Comics) In 2012 Marvel Comics produced a cover featuring New Hampshire Senator Lou D’Allesandro’s four-year-old grandson Anthony as Blue Ear, a superhero wearing a hearing aid. Anthony refused the prosthetic because superheroes did not wear them. His mother contacted the company hoping to find an inspirational example and […]

Chekhov: Ward No. 6

Stanley Gutiontov Chicago, Illinois, USA   Anton Chekhov “Andrei Yefimich understood everything. Without saying a word, he walked to the bed Nikita had given him and sat down; seeing that Nikita was waiting, he stripped naked and became embarrassed. He then put on his hospital clothes; the pants were too short, the shirt was too […]

The incubator

MAS Ahmed, Natasja Vandepitte London   The Nursling, by Pierre Budin, translated by William Maloney. London: Caxton Publishing Co.; 1907.   The incubator is a common sight in every Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Its history is of interest because of its influence on patient care and on the ensuing societal change. Babies were an […]

A theologian answers questions about the heart: St. Thomas Aquinas’ De Motu Cordis

Michael Potts North Carolina, United States   An altarpiece in Ascoli Piceno, Italy by Carlo Crivelli (15th century) Suppose you are a high school teacher in a basic biology class and you have a question about the function of the heart. You decide to ask an expert, so you dial a university and ask for […]

“And of scurvy the teeth fall out of them”

Katarina Villner Stockholm, Sweden And of scurvy the teeth fall out of them; for scurvy and throat diseases I have used lemons as long I had any left, for as soon as I came down I bought 200 lemons from a Dutch ship and he had no more.1   Henrik Fleming, a Swedish nobleman, wrote […]