When Chocolate was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth, and Dufour

Poseidon taking chocolate from Mexico to Europe, a detail from the frontispiece to Chocolata Inda by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, 1644 — National Institute of Health Chocolate has not always been the common confectionary we experience today. When it first arrived from the Americas into Europe in the 17th century it was a rare and mysterious substance, thought[…]

How Rejuvenation of Stem Cells Could Lead to Healthier Aging

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Elisa Lazarri / 01.16.2018 Postdoctoral Associate in Biomedical Sciences Cornell University “Rampant” and “elderly” are words rarely used in the same sentence, unless we are talking of the percentage of people over 65 years old worldwide. Life expectancy has considerably increased, but it is still unknown how many of those years are going to[…]

Vesalius and the Body Metaphor

Portrait of Vesalius featured in De Humani Corporis Fabrica / U.S. National Library of Medicine City streets, a winepress, pulleys, spinning tops, a ray fish, curdled milk: just a few of the many images used by 16th century anatomist Andreas Vesalius to explain the workings of the human body in his seminal work De Humani Corporis Fabrica.[…]

Denis Burkitt’s Safari Diaries and Contribution to Medicine

Denis Burkitt / Wellcome Library Denis Parsons Burkitt (1911-1993), while posted at the Mulago Hospital and Makerere Medical School in Kampala, Uganda, in the 1950s and 1960s, was the first to describe a childhood cancer which became known as Burkitt’s lymphoma. By Amanda Engineer / 08.23.2016 Project Archivist, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Archive Wellcome Library Archivist From[…]

Medieval Banking- Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

Image of banking from a medieval illuminated manuscript By Robert Naranjo / 01.10.2008 Modern banking has its auspicious beginnings in the early to mid Middle Ages. Primitive banking transactions existed before, but until the economic revival of the thirteenth century they were limited in scope and occurrence. By the dawn of the twelfth and thirteenth[…]

Influenza Pandemics Now, Then, and Again

In 2005, Dr. Terrence Tumpey, a Center for Disease Control Microbiologist, examines recreated 1918 Pandemic Influenza Virus to help understand its particularly deadly effects. By studying past pandemics, and the successes and failures of social and medical responses to end them, policy-makers and scientists hope to ameliorate the ill effects of the next flu pandemic[…]

Going Viral: How Social Media Can Create Worse Epidemics

In the age of social media, fears and rumors about outbreaks and epidemics can quickly spread out of control. How can health officials help contain the panic? By Mike Ives / 10.28.2016 In the spring of 2014, Vietnam’s state-controlled news media reported that dozens of children had died after turning up at hospitals in the[…]

Ancient Faeces Reveal Parasites Described in Earliest Greek Medical Texts

Earliest archaeological evidence of intestinal parasitic worms infecting the ancient inhabitants of Greece confirms descriptions found in writings associated with Hippocrates, the early physician and ‘father of Western medicine’. 12.15.2017 Ancient faeces from prehistoric burials on the Greek island of Kea have provided the first archaeological evidence for the parasitic worms described 2,500 years ago[…]

The Bizarre Reality of Cotard’s ‘Walking Corpse’ Syndrome

Photo from Max Pixel By Dolly Stolze / 10.31.2017 For me, zombies are probably the scariest of the iconic horror monsters because humans are either zombie food fighting for survival in a post-apolocalypic landscape or they are transformed into mindless walking corpses that are doomed to feed on the bodies of other people.  While these stumbling,[…]

What Plagues Us?

At Radcliffe’s Science Symposium, “Contagion: Exploring Modern Epidemics,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett said there is need for improved local and national disease-management entities. / Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Institute Radcliffe hosts symposium about epidemics from Ebola to the opioid crisis. By Greta Friar / 10.31.2017 The topics waiting to be discussed read like the writing prompts[…]

Mental Illness is Readily Visible in Brain Imaging

A pair of identical twins. The one on the right has OCD, while the one on the left does not. Brain Imaging Research Division, Wayne State University School of Medicine, CC BY-SA By Dr. David Rosenberg, M.D. / 10.19.2017 Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Wayne State University As a psychiatrist, I find that one of the hardest[…]

Ambroise Paré’s Medical ‘Monsters’

Ambroise Paré, Les œuures d’Ambroise Paré, conseiller, et premier chirurgien du roy (Paris: Gabriel Buon, 1579), pp. 939–40. Wellcome Images  By Sarah Pipkin / 07.26.2017 In the collected works of Ambroise Paré (c. 1510–90), first published in French in 1575, a ‘Book of monsters and prodigies’ appears alongside other subjects including the setting of bones, the identification[…]

They Rode Horseback to Deliver Babies. A Century Later, Midwives Are Still Crucial.

Jean Fee shows photos from her time as a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service. / Photo by Melissa Hellmann In Kentucky, these health care professionals still struggle for acceptance—even in areas that need them most. By Melissa Hellmann / 09.07.2017 Carrie Hall was in the middle of a hair-coloring appointment when she received[…]