History

Malarial Mosquito with Seussical Whimsy

During World War II, Theodore Geissel (better known as Dr. Seuss) joined the war effort doing what he did best, creating cartoons and educating. He was commissioned as a captain in the US Army. The Contagions blog discovered this image on the USDA Young Dipterists website and NPR picked the story up.?á This is the first page of a handbook for soldiers to help educate them on the prevention of malaria by avoiding mosquito bites…no partying with Ann for them!

Perhaps those of us in South Louisiana should be taking his advice 70 years later with West Nile outbreaks making the news.?á Of course the Centers for Disease Control have released a feature with some more modern advice.

Friday fun: It came from the stacks, groovy shorthand edition

The Medical Secretary's Manual, 1966

Dig that cover.

Before dictation machines, tape recorders or speech recognition software, there was shorthand, an abbreviated writing method that increases speed of writing. When The Medical Secretary’s Manual?áburst onto the scene in 1966, it differed from other medical shorthand books by offering clinically oriented material to accompany the dashes and swoops that encompass stenography. A 1967 JAMA review observed:

Each section is devoted to a particular system or organ of the body. Before confronting the reader with definitions and shorthand symbols for each specific term or phrase, Miss Eshom provides a simplified description of the system under discussion and frequently includes helpful schematic drawings. This background information distinguishes her book from the usual text of medical shorthand.

For avid note-takers with an aversion to technology medical shorthand can still be useful, and indeed, those in need of a simplified overview of anatomy and medical terminology may find the clinical information interesting as well. I suppose that is why this book is still up in the library stacks, keeping the Sixities alive.

 

 

 

 

This Month in History: Dr. Hamlett & Zoological Treasure Hunting

Ever wondered how to catch a lizard? You might think to consult wikiHow or you might look up an instructional video on YouTube. Consulting our Digital Collection of newspaper clippings, however, would reveal quite an interesting portrait of a rugged, LSU Indiana Jones in pursuit of a rare treasure: the live-birthing lizard.

In 1953, the Times-Picayune ran an article on one Dr. George W. D. Hamlett, faculty of the LSU Medical School Department of Anatomy, whose research practices involved catching his subjects in the American Southwest rather than in a lab. Nets are all well and good for the casual lizard hunter, but Dr. HamlettÔÇÖs methods included an elaborate system of hammer, chisel, stick noose, and rifle. In order to capture the illusive live-birthing female lizard, he donned the traditional gear: khakis, hiking boots, and traded a fedora for a sun hat; armoring himself thus, he chiseled lizards out of rock formations and sought the mammal-like desert lizard among the trees. His interest in these lizards lay in their ability to produce young not through external development in an egg, but within the female of the species, an oddity for the reptile. Though Dr. Hamlett lacked the Indiana Jones bullwhip and the characteristic fear of snakes, his adventures were nevertheless harrowing.

The character of Dr. Jones is perhaps based on Sir Arthur Conan DoyleÔÇÖs character, Professor Challenger (a figure in turn based on his own Professor Sir William Rutherford) who is famous for having combined several areas of study such as archaeology, anthropology, and zoology in the pursuit of a totalizing knowledgeÔÇöÔÇ£Science seeks knowledge. Let knowledge lead us where it will, we still must seek it. To know once for all what we are, why we are, where we are, is that not in itself the greatest of all human aspirations?ÔÇ£(When the World Screamed). In the same way, Dr. HamlettÔÇÖs study of embryology continued on many divergent paths as he explored the complexities of the long-tongued bat, the badger, the armadillo, the cat, the coyote, and the American monkey, finally culminating in his study of humans.?á Some of his published works, ÔÇ£Embryology of the Molossoid Bat,ÔÇØ ÔÇ£Some Notes on Embryological Technique,ÔÇØ and ÔÇ£Human Twinning in the United StatesÔÇØ can be accessed through PubMed.

Though the similarities between Dr. Hamlett and Dr. Jones may not be many, there is an air of adventure to every quest for knowledge. Why can the scientist not leap across cliff faces and come to the rescue every now and then? But please be aware that there are no catacombs beneath this libraryÔÇÖs floorÔÇöyouÔÇÖll have to go to Venice for that.

 

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library effort. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

Crazy for the Olympics?

New England Journal of Medicine has an article in this week’s issue about the history of Olympic Medicine.?á?á The LSUHSC Libraries own many of the historic articles listed in the article’s bibliography; check our online catalog for more information.

The article should be freely available to anyone, and not just LSUHSC patrons.

Hidden Treasures: NLM

Book Cover

 

It was always exciting to go digging around in your grandparent’s attic as a kid. You never know what you might find; old photos, love letters and toys, maybe a treasure map to lost pirate gold.

Imagine if you got to dig around in all the old stuff the National Library of Medicine has laying around. Now you can catch a glimpse of their weird, wacky and wonderful collection.

Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine is a beautiful and fascinating new book. Check out a New York Times review or have a look yourself. The book is available in the Isch?® Library stacks and as an EBook online from NLM.


 

This Month in History: Dr. Marilyn Zimny and the Great Squirrel-Stronaut

This month in 1960, the Times-Picayune ran an article entitled, ÔÇ£Ground Squirrel Called Ideal Space Traveler.ÔÇØ In the article, Dr. Marilyn Zimny, scientist at the LSU Medical School and avid squirrel-enthusiast, tells of the amazing potential for ground squirrels to travel in outer space and to serve as instruments of research on forced-hibernation scenarios and metabolism studies.

Being so adaptable to extreme conditions, the squirrels appear to be ideal candidates for researching regulated slowing of metabolism as they are able to hibernate for long periods of time without damaging their vital organs: heart, brain, and kidneys remain intact. Advancement in this area of reduced energy consummation would possibly provide some insight into the development of a drug that could force a lower metabolism and thus a decreased need for food, water, and oxygen, a state perhaps preferable for astronauts during prolonged space travel and servicemen in cold climates. ?áThis drug could also reduce blood flow during recovery periods after a heart attack or stroke.

Although I can find no evidence that ground squirrels have indeed been launched into space, a slew of animals pre-dated human travel. The list of adventuring animals includes rhesus and squirrel-monkeys as well as mice, rats, rabbits, fruit flies, a guinea pig, a cat, chimpanzees, dogs, etc. These brave animals helped determine the conditions necessary for humans to survive spaceflight.

Dr. Zimny’s fascination with squirrels penetrated her personal life as well as her professional developmentÔÇöprofessing to own over 160 at the time of this article and in search of more (an abundance can apparently be found in some Chicago golf courses). She authored ÔÇ£Metabolism of some carbohydrate and phosphate compounds during hibernation in the ground squirrel,ÔÇØ published in the Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology, ÔÇ£Carbohydrate metabolism in ground squirrels during the summer season,ÔÇØ published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, among many others. Zimny continued her study of the rodents in order to develop a field of research that would include them as test subjects.

Her career at LSU began in 1954, leading her to a full professorship approximately ten years later. According to one Faculty Vignette, her students ÔÇ£were affectionately known as her ÔÇÿground squirrels.ÔÇÖÔÇØ She went on to become the first female department head at the LSU School of Medicine in 1975, and although she passed away in January 2006, her legacy lives on in her renown. A recent article on POPSCI tells about the successful induction of hibernation in arctic ground squirrels. Dr. ZimnyÔÇÖs warm regard for the critters appears well-places as they continues to be relevant to the study of metabolism regulation.

You can further explore squirrel-related news and other intricacies of our Digital Collections by following this link.

 

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

Happy Birthday William Osler

William Osler

 

All medical residents can thank Dr. Osler for their extended training. Today would be his 163rd birthday.

The Libraries own over 40 works by Osler if you want to read up and discover why he is considered one of the father’s of modern medicine.

Historical Anatomies from NLM

: Suharaya Heisuke kanko, Kyoho gan [1716]). p.14r”]

Interested in the history of anatomy? Or just want to see some cool old anatomical illustrations? Take a look at the National Library of Medicine‘s Historical Anatomies on the Web collection digitized for your enjoyment.

The collection covers the 15th through 20th centuries and currently includes over 40 titles.

Louisiana Named – 330 years ago

A color reproduction of a 17th Century map by Jean Baptiste Louis, Franquelin entitled Carte de la Louisiane ou des voyages du Sr. De La Salle.


On April 9, 1682, explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle made it to the mouth of the Mississippi River, named the territory Louisiana and claimed it in the name of France.

Happy Name Day to the entire former Louisiana Territory.

Louisiana’s most senior politician = SoM graduate

A feature on WVUE Fox 8 News last night featured Dr. I. C. Turnley. At 85, he’s the most senior elected official in the state, serving as coroner for Lasalle Parish since 1959.

Dr. Turnley is a graduate of LSU School of Medicine in 1956. In fact, it’s indisputable. You can see his name in the graduation record – it’s part of our digital collection of Graduation Programs in the Louisiana Digital Library. Wondering what the life of a medical students was like in that era? Peruse our digital collection of Tiger Rag student newspapers, and you may happen upon his name as well.

Health Care For the First Freedpeople

Contraband camp, Richmond, Va, 1865, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

Contraband camp, Richmond, Va, 1865, image courtesy of the US National Archives

Here’s a great post about the first US sponsored hospital for African Americans from Jill L. Newmark, exhibition specialist in the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.

On a parcel of swampy land in northwest Washington, D.C. bounded by 12th, 13th, R and S Streets N.W., a tented camp and hospital once stood that served thousands of escaped slaves and black soldiers during the American Civil War. Known as Contraband Camp, it contained one of the few hospitals that treated blacks in Washington, D.C. during the war and whose staff, including nurses and surgeons, were largely African American.

Read more: Contraband Hospital, 1862-1863: Health Care For the First Freedpeople

DISPLAYS: Leather DoctorÔÇÖs Bag

12-4-2011 5-47-44 PM

Expectantly, when doctors did house calls, they depended on their knowledge as well as the considerably well thought out contents placed inside their bags.

Most had six compartments that allowed for a wide range of necessities to be stored; to name a few: injections, gauze, sutures, needles, gloves, and pills. More contents usually meant that the location of practice or closest hospital were farther away.

The bag was usually kept in the trunk or in the vehicles interior, however the hot summer months and freezing temperatures during winter presented challenges for some of its contents. Bottles of sterile water and ampoules were sometimes frozen solid which meant that they had to be thawed out before being administered and even then have the possibility of losing its potency.

Get an up close look! —> Currently on display in the Library Commons

Star: Hansen’s Disease Digital Collection

The full-text of the complete run (1941-2001) of the Star, a bimonthly newsletter published by the patients of the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, Carville, Louisiana is now available via the Louisiana Digital Library. This collection was created with the cooperation of the National Hansen’s Disease Museum.

Royal Society Historical Archive – Free

Royal Society Publishing has opened their archive to the public free of charge. This archive includes “all articles from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, first published in 1665 and officially recognised as the world’s first ever peer-reviewed journal.” The archive covers 250 years of scientific discovery and includes covers all the publishers journals. Only articles more than 70 years old will be accessible. My favorite from the first volume (1665) is “A Relation of Persons Killed with Subterraneous Damps.”

LSUHSC Libraries do have access to the most recent content that is not free to the public. Access to recent matieral is available to LSUHSC faculty, staff & students. It can be accessed off-campus with a valid LSUHSC library barcode & PIN. You can find more information at our remote access webpage.

Displays: Magneto Electric Machine

If you have ever visited the library commons, more likely than not you have noticed the collection of antique medical equipment on display. The display cases boast a wide and interesting array of Old & Rare inventory . . . so interesting in fact many wonder what these items were used for. And when.

In order to solve these mysteries the Isch?® Library plans to give brief history lessons about items in the display case via our blog.

First up is Davis & KidderÔÇÖs Patent Magneto Electric Machine for Nervous Disorders.

This particular machine is dated August 1, 1854 and like each Magneto Electric Machine created, the label inside the box lid provides detailed instructions for proper treatment.

ÔÇ£Directions: Connect two Metallic Cords or wires with the socket in the ends of the box, and apply the handles connected with the other ends of the metallic cords or wires to any part of the person through which it is desirable to pass the current of electricity.ÔÇØ For the full instructions (trust me, they are interesting and a bit scary) click here.

What purpose did this machine serve? The best description is found at Dr. Olgierd Lindan’s Collection of Unusual Medical Devices & Antique Electronics explains in simplest form that and electric current passed through the patientÔÇÖs body ÔÇ£generated by a pair of solenoids that spin against the poles of a large horseshoe magnet.ÔÇØ The electricity was believed to stimulate a healing reaction within the human nervous system.

Did it work? According to the above mentioned website, the treatment of this device is questionable. ÔÇ£The therapeutic value of the treatment, if any, was likely due to the placebo effect. With the electric shocks coursing through his body as he gripped the hand electrodes, the patient definitely felt that ‘something was being done’ about his complaint. Electricity was a new and novel force in the 1800’s and most patients had no prior exposure to it, adding to its curative mystique.ÔÇØ

Fun facts- each Patent Magneto Electric Machine was signed by the production company to ensure genuine authenticity of this machine. Testimonials were also printed on the inside lid delighting in the marvel of this machine.