blood and guts, surgeons and scientists: “the butchering art”

The Butchering Art is medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris's first book. And  what a book! Descriptions that bring the horrors of pre-anaesthesia, pre-antisepsis surgery shudderingly into view? Very definitely. Science and history? Oh yes, lots of it, and beautifully told. And through it all, the humanity and vision of Joseph Lister and others like him, working to […]

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attitudes and antibiotics

A recent FB post from Stuff discussed the rising concerns around the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (This is something that Siouxsie Wiles has often written about: here and here, for example; her excellent book on the subject is reviewed here.) Fairly predictably, it didn't take long for the proponents of essential oils to turn up, soon to be joined by the usual […]

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helicobacter pylori and the complexity of the human microbiome

In their first-year microbiology lectures. our students hear about Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium associated with the development of gastric ulcers (a discovery that eventually saw Barry Marshall and Robin Warren receive the 2005 Nobel Prize for Physology or Medicine). The trouble is, I suspect that this is all that they hear about a story that […]

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essays on our fascination with those who are different

Book Review: The Two-Headed Boy and Other Medical Marvels  by Jan Bondeson Cornell University Press, USA (2004) Paperback: i-xxii, 297 pages ISBN: 0-8014-8958-X RRP: US419.95 It's all Grant's doing, really. If he hadn't picked up on an off-hand comment of mine (relating to vipers in bosoms) & turned that into a catchy blog post, I quite probably […]

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