Tag Archives: Winter 2021

“Of Mice and Men”: a differential diagnosis for Lennie Small

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Colin Waters stars as Lennie in Charleston Stage’s 2018 production of Of Mice and Men. Photo courtesy of Marybeth Clark. Source. In John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel Of Mice and Men,1 the two main characters work as itinerant laborers on farms and ranches in California during the Great Depression. Their only attachments […]

Agricola’s De re metallica: an early description of industrial diseases

The “Father of Mineralogy,” Georgius Agricola. Via Wikimedia. Georg Bauer was born in Saxony in 1494 and went by the name of Georgius Agricola because in his time academicians often latinized their name, so that Bauer in German translated into Agricola, meaning peasant or farmer. He was a medical practitioner in a small mining town […]

American ginseng as an herbal emissary influencing Qing-American trade relations

Richard Zhang Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Panax quinquefolium, as featured in a book by physician-botanist Jacob Bigelow, late 1810s. Public domain courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. On February 22, 1784, the Empress of China set sail from New York Harbor.1 Destined for the eponymous country, the American ship carried thirty tons of a wild root—ginseng. […]

A wrong time to die

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Lockdown in Thessaloniki. Photo by the author. Death is the one absolute and unexceptional certainty in life. In the Bible we read that there is a time for everything, including a time to die [Ecclesiastes 3:2]. Is there ever a “right” time to die? Faced with such a question, we […]

Maria Callas—her inner voice revealed

Eelco Wijdicks Lea Dacy Rochester, Minnesota, United States   Cover: Prima Donna: The Psychology of Maria Callas. In Prima Donna: The Psychology of Maria Callas, Paul Wink convincingly concludes—based on largely secondary sources—that Maria Callas was not only a wildly ambitious operator who was not known for an emollient manner, but a prime example of […]

Ivan Illich after almost half a century

Photo of Ivan Illich. Via Wikimedia. Ivan Illich died in 2002 and is now in danger of being forgotten. His famous book, Medical Nemesis,1 appeared in 1975 and captured the imagination and approbation of many. He was a vehement critic of the “medical establishment,” which he regarded as a threat to people’s health. He was […]

The proximity of death

Paul C. Rosenblatt St. Paul, Minnesota, United States   A family outing at Lincoln Park in Chicago a few weeks before the author became ill. Pictured are the author, his mother Rose Rosenblatt, and his sister Doris Rosenblatt (now Kopfstein). Photo taken by the author’s father Harry Rosenblatt and published with permission of the author. […]

Ada English: the forgotten fighter

Laura King Atlanta, GA, United States   Photograph of Irish Politician Ada English. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 A reformer of psychiatric care, a fighter for Irish independence, and a forgotten figure in Irish history—that was Dr. Adeline (Ada) English. As a female physician working in Ireland from the beginning to the middle of the […]

Munchausen by Proxy

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   My last patient of the morning was a teenage girl, just turned eighteen. She walked in slowly, her face in agony, apprehensive. Her mother said the pain had begun at age twelve, about when she started to menstruate, yet it never let up, periods or not. Refusing food, […]

Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, MD, United States   Figure 1. Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman; Reproduced with permission, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN On March 15, 2021, the United States Senate confirmed Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribal Nation, as Secretary of the Department of Interior. This historic action […]