Volume 1, Issue 5 – Fall 2009

Art and Medicine

Redefining the medical artist

Redefining the medical artist

Meena Malhotra

University of Illinois, Chicago, Biomedical Visualization Program

Medical illustration is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the sixteenth-century anatomist and physician Andreas Vesalius. Vesalius emphasized the importance of careful inspection of anatomical parts, introducing the study of human anatomy through first-person dissection, observation, and illustrations. The discipline of medical illustration has since flourished to encompass more types of the natural sciences and also more modes of communication. The rise of technology has introduced new applications of medical visualization, causing a redefinition of the scope of the field which is no longer limited to traditional pen and ink illustrations. More…

Exhibition of medical illustrations

Medical Illustration of Epstein Barr Virus

Epstein Barr Virus

Lindsey Brake, Biomedical Visualization Program, UIC

Redefining the Medical Artist is a presentation of medical illustrations by the students and faculty of the University of Illinois Biomedical Visualization program. These works hope to increase awareness of the many dimensions of the discipline and to serve as a platform for networking, sharing research ideas and results, and creating new partnerships within the biomedical and scientific community. More…

Vanishing Mother: A photo essay

Vanishing Mother

Ellen Jantzen

St. Louis, Missouri

Are dreams real? Is what one sees, hears and feels real? Aren’t elements of the world flavored and altered by ones own emotional makeup and history?

With all of this in

mind, I was drawn to the reality of my mother-in-law’s mental state as she slips into dementia. I created a series of images depicting my mother-in-law, Patricia Jantzen, as she goes about her daily business while suffering from Alzheimer’s. More…

Capturing recovery from trauma on canvas

Truama on Canvas

Eliette Markhbein Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center, New York

I came to painting as a result of trauma. A journalist covering arts and culture for European and American magazines for 25 years, I suffered a traumatic brain and spine injury in 2004, the consequence of being struck by a speeding car. I picked up brushes a year after my injury as a respite from intense rehabilitation, to ease the pain and search for answers within. More…


Medical history

Doctor Moore in Italy

Doctor MooreEinar Perman MD, PhD

Stockholm, Sweden

Moore, a practicing physician in Glasgow with a good reputation, was offered an opportunity to travel. Like other prominent noblemen of his day, the young Duke of Hamilton was to make the Grand Tour as a part of his education. The Duke´s mother knew Moore, and invited him to join the Tour as companion, tutor, and responsible adult. The Tour lasted five years (1772 – 1777), and took him to the major European countries. The Tour included extensive travels in Italy, and in 1779 Moore wrote “View of Society and Manners in Italy.” More…

Dream interpretation and insomnia across cultures and history

Imhotep, priest-physician

Elizabeth A.J. Scott, MD

Edinburgh, Scotland

Imhotep, priest-physician and architect of the step pyramid of Sakkara from around 2980 BC, was worshipped as the God of Medicine at temples and shrines all over Nubia and Egypt. His forte was almost certainly incubation, namely sleeping in a Holy place to obtain dreams from the Gods. Dream interpretation by such priest-physicians was at the time the backbone of medical treatment. More…


Medical School Journey

Studying medicine

Studying Medicine

Matko Marusic, MD, PhD

Zagreb University School of Medicine, Croatia

The only thing more beautiful than being a doctor is studying medicine. Medical students talk to everyone about their studying, with love and in detail; so they get on everyone’s nerves. However, it does not bother them because their goal is to explain that medicine is the hardest, most interesting, and most beautiful field of study in existence. More…

The first experiment

Lab Rat

Filip Šimunović

Heidelberg University School of Medicine, Germany

Sebastijan’s first independent animal experiment at Harvard transpired in the manner of something Edgar Poe could have written—if he knew anything about animal experiments and stereotactic neurosurgery at his time. Sebastijan, however, wasn’t there to read about it, or to write about it. He was there to survive it. More…

Dissecting cadavers: learning anatomy or a rite of passage?

Emmanuelle Godeau, MD, PhD

Service médical du Rectorat, Toulouse, France

In many medical schools, dissection of cadavers remains an essential component of the curriculum, even though surveys from the past 50 years have shown this is not the most efficient way of learning anatomy. Yet the persistence of dissections suggests a different role: a rite of passage and creating an esprit de corps for the profession. Our anthropological studies, in which one hundred medical students and doctors from France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States were interviewed, support this thesis. More…



To mount a camel


Larry Zaroff, MD, PhD

Stanford University, California

An encounter a number of years ago with an Afghan patient who required heart surgery made me realize how widely separate are our cultures. The story begins in the desert, where a camel waited patiently, as camels do. The camel is a philosophical animal, available for water, food, and weight. She felt vacant, used to her driver, who was unable to mount. The reason for her anxiety was water in her rider’s legs, the center of his inability. More…

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be



The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us again. Like Garrison Kiellor, my great sin is nostalgia (my lesser sins include lust, envy, and sloth, but they hardly count, every Tom, Dick, and Harry has them), and so autumn is my favorite time of year. I can stroll contentedly through the woodlands, looking smugly at the trees, savoring the wistful beauties of the season, the leaves fading to brown and red, apples and chestnuts falling all around me… More…


Medicine and Literature

Humanities at the heart of health care

Victoria Bonebakker

The Maine Humanities Council

Imagine doctors, nurses, receptionists, trustees, administrators, lab techs and physician assistants, books in hand, sitting in a hospital conference room, cafeteria or lounge. With a humanities scholar serving as a facilitator, they are discussing the novel, short story or poem they have read, and reflecting together on what it means to them – as people and as professionals engaged in the enterprise of health care. Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care ® engages diverse groups of health care professionals with literary texts that invite them to step into worlds outside of their own experience, with vibrant and often profound accounts of illness, death and human relationships in different places and times. More…


Mind/body practice

The brain is wider than the sky: integrating insights of neuroscience with hatha yoga

YogaMichael McColly

Chicago, Illinois

The age of neuroscience has arrived. Go to a bookstore, turn on a TV, open a magazine, and you’ll find evidence of America’s new fascination: the human brain. How we think, remember, perceive, feel, and imagine are no longer the subjects of philosophers and poets alone, but are under the eyes of an ever-growing number of scientists in a wide array of fields related to the study of the biology and evolution of the central nervous system. Advances in imaging technology, neurobiology, cognitive psychology and a host of converging fields have brought us even to the brink of unlocking the very biological basis of consciousness itself. More…


Medical Ethics

Another look at Hippocrates

HippocratesAroop Mangalik, MD

University of New Mexico, Alburquerque

From my early years in medical school, I recall the reverence with which my teachers talked about Hippocrates. The great Indian physicians, Charaka and Shushruta, who worked and wrote several hundred years before Hippocrates, were mentioned only in passing. The Hippocratic Ethics, the Hippocratic Oath, and the clinical observations made by Hippocrates were central to the teaching of ancient medical history. I vividly recall learning about the various assessments attributed to Hippocrates, including the Hippocratic facies (the gaunt and blank look of a patient that predicted impending death) and the succussion splash, a sign of hydro-pneumothorax. We did not take a formal Hippocratic Oath, but the Oath was written on a marble slab and prominently displayed in the hallowed halls of the medical school Administrative Building. More…


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