Tag Archives: Vignettes

The three knights of thyrotoxicosis

Of the three physicians who described thyrotoxicosis, Karl Adolph von Basedow is the least known, especially in the English-speaking world. Born at Dessau in 1799, Basedow studied medicine at Halle University, worked as a physician in various cities of Germany, and in 1835 was appointed Director of the Clinic for Internal Medicine at the University […]

Doctor Thorne, a country apothecary

Image from The Writings of Anthony Trollope, vol. 5 (1900). Internet Archive Book Images via Flickr. Public domain. Anthony Trollope is one of the few popular British novelists of the nineteenth century who is still widely read. He wrote some forty novels, notably the Palliser series about parliamentarian politics, and the Barchester stories with their […]


Riley Scherr Irvine, California, United States   “Words.” Photo by Diana Luque on Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Patients in the lobby think I speak Spanish very well. Although I momentarily feel validated, those compliments would mean more if I did not know I was repeating the same conversation cyclically, drawing from a carefully prepared arsenal […]


Lentils (Lens esculenta and Lens culinaris) are widely cultivated legumes. They are grown and consumed throughout the world, but almost half of the world’s lentils, 45%, are produced in Canada and another 18% in India. The legume is a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and is an excellent choice for vegetarians […]

Henry Cotton: Pulling teeth to cure disease

Portrait of Henry Andrews Cotton from Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography, Vol. X, 1924, pages 324–325. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Dr. Henry Cotton believed that all mental illnesses were caused by chronic “focal” infections hidden in various organs. He argued that when these infections spread to the brain, they caused inflammation and mental disorders. To […]

Pierre Charles Louis of the numerical method

Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis. Early 1800s. From An introduction to the history of medicine: with medical chronology, bibliographic data, and test questions by Fielding Hudson Garrison. London & Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 1914. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis (1787–1872) was a physician and epidemiologist who made significant contributions to medicine. He worked on […]

Sir Norman Gregg and the German measles

Sir Norman Gregg. From “Rashes to Research: Scientists and Parents Confront the 1964 Rubella Epidemic.” Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Museum and Archives via US National Library of Medicine. Fair use. Sir Norman Gregg was an Australian eye doctor who in 1941 noticed that some mothers suffering from rubella during pregnancy had babies with severe eye […]

Marc Ruffer, founder of paleopathology

Mummy. Photo by Paul Hudson on Flickr. CC BY 2.0. Sir Marc Armand Ruffer (1859–1917) is considered the founder of paleopathology, the study of disease in human remains. He was born in Lyons, France, the son of Swiss banker Baron Jacques de Ruffer and a German mother. He was educated in Germany and France, Oxford […]

More on Arthur Aufderheide, the mummy doctor (1922–2013)

Arthur C. Aufderheide (1922–2013) received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1943 and his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1952. After completing his education, he became a professor at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and spent most of his active life there. Aufderheide’s major contribution to anthropology […]

Diocles of Carystus

Diocles of Carystus (probably 375–300 BC), also known as Diocles Medicus, came from the island of Euboea but is remembered as a resident of Athens. He wrote on animal anatomy, dietetics, physiology, embryology, and medical botany, but only fragments of his writings survive. His work on anatomy may have been the first of its kind […]