Tag: medicine

Meanings and Materials of Miscarriage: How Babies in Jars Shaped Modern Pregnancy

In 1866, a young man in Crestline, Ohio, visited Dr. J. Stolz to ask the physician for help. Mr. B’s wife was in much pain and distress, and Mr. B feared for her life. Stolz accompanied the young man back to his house where he found the 16-year-old woman thrashing about in bed, screaming in… Read more →

Anatomy of Generation

Before the advent of modern technologies like the ultrasound, miscarried and aborted fetuses provided some of the very few glimpses inside the pregnant uterus. Pregnancy loss, whatever its personal meanings for women and their partners, offered physicians precious insight into the mysteries of human reproduction. The earliest recorded observation of a human embryo is in… Read more →

Who is Dead?

The February 5, 2018 New Yorker carried a story of Jahi McMath and her family. In 2013, McMath went into Oakland’s Children’s Hospital for a routine surgery for tonsil removal. After the surgery, she experienced extreme blood loss and her heart stopped beating. Two days later, a doctor declared her brain dead. Her family battled… Read more →

The Persistence of Félicité Kina: Kinship, Gender, and Everyday Resistance

In January of 1803, the sixteen-year-old Félicité-Adelaïde Kina (née Quimard) traveled from Paris to Pontarlier to protest the imprisonment of her stepson Zamor and her husband Jean for allegedly inciting revolution in British-occupied Martinique two years earlier. All three had been deported from the Caribbean island to England in 1801 and then detained in France… Read more →

When Did We Get So Hormonal? An Interview with Randi Hutter Epstein

Randi Hutter Epstein’s new book, Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything, traces the development of our scientific and medical understanding of hormones from the late nineteenth century to the present. Each chapter focuses on a different hormone, linking the science of endocrinology to fascinating details about the social context that… Read more →

The Dangerous Price of Diabetes: Not What the Pioneering Researchers Predicted

The 1921 discovery of insulin ushered in a new era in endocrinology. Canadian researchers transformed diabetes from certain death sentence to chronic illness, infusing hormone researchers and doctors with giddy optimism. Doctors soon thought that every hormone ailment would be reversed. All that was needed was to mimic what the University of Toronto team did… Read more →

How To Cook and Cure: Early Modern Recetas

Recipes can quickly transport us to particular times and places. A glance at this vintage Jell-O recipe calls to mind the model 1960s US housewife and the gendered obligations of food and preparation. Women’s relationship to recipes are taken up in a less widely-known context in British artist George Cruikshank’s nineteenth-century etching with watercolors. Titled,… Read more →

Lizards and the Idea of Mexico

In the summer of 1782, Don Juan de Luna, a respected elder citizen of the City of Mexico, nearly choked on a lagartija, a lizard, when he ate it to ease the throbbing tumor on his tongue. The details are foggy, but he likely followed the protocol established by his medical counsel, the celebrated physicist,… Read more →

New Medical Tourism on St. Kitts

The late William Halford of Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine spent his life developing what Hollywood director Agustín Fernández called a herpes “miracle treatment.” Theravax is an experimental herpes vaccine that, in 2013, Halford began testing both on himself and on friends, family, and volunteers. Inside hotel rooms across Illinois, Harford injected Theravax into… Read more →

Remembering the Mothers of Gynecology: Deirdre Cooper Owens’ Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology

Antebellum physician James Marion Sims has been in the news quite a bit lately as a target of activism. After the Charlottesville white supremacist rallies, efforts to take down Confederate monuments have spread across the country, and those efforts have included statues of James Marion Sims. Sims is known for developing a successful technique for… Read more →