Tag: medicine

Exhibition Review: Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis

One hundred years after the 1918 flu epidemic, Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis opened at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). The exhibition, which ran through April 2019 in association with the New York Academy of Medicine, asked visitors to consider the complex relationship between New Yorkers and pathogenic microorganisms, both… Read more →

Witness to Pain: The Migraine Art Collection

“Good morning Katherine, I just wanted to let you know that we have located the Migraine Art.” For four years, as I worked on the history of migraine, I had periodically been in touch with the team at Migraine Action, a UK-based advocacy charity for people with migraine.1 Globally, migraine affects around one in seven… Read more →

Pharmacological Innovation and the Desire to Simplify Postpartum Depression

At the end of March, Sage Therapeutics announced FDA approval for the intravenous and hospital-supervised use of their new postpartum depression (PPD) drug, Zulresso (brexanlone). The possibility of a new way to help women who are struggling with depression after childbirth is an exciting and important development, especially with claims that around 11% of new… Read more →

Mange, Morphine, and Deadly Disease: Medicine and Public Health in Red Dead Redemption 2

Spoiler warning: This essay discusses major plot points about the ending of Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s dead midnight, there’s moonlight on the corn, and Thomas Downes owes me money. He protests he doesn’t have anything to spare, but I insist he does, and so we end up wrestling against the wood fence. Then, bruised… Read more →

Femininity and Legitimacy: Policing Women and “Witches” in Post-Apartheid South Africa

One night in the late spring of 2008, in the South African town of Mondlo, an assembly of neighbors brought 72-year-old Ntombikayise Zulu to tribal court. The neighbors suspected she wanted to kill them after they had killed her “familiar” — a squirrel who hunted chickens. Zulu, who tearfully claimed that she never practiced witchcraft,… Read more →

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 →