In the Middle Ages, surgery was performed by barbers, owing to their skill with sharp instruments. In the mid-19th century, a “grand exhibition” of the effects of laughing gas inadvertently led to the discovery of anaesthesia. Three decades later, Louis Pasteur enjoyed a crucial breakthrough in his search for vaccinations because his assistant decided, against his orders, to take a vacation.

In Medicine: A Graphic History, surgeon and professor of medical history Jean-Noel Fabiani stitches together the most significant and intriguing … More

Born OTD in 1933, American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist, Susan Sontag. Sontag was active in writing & speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War & the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture & media, AIDS & illness, human rights, communism & leftist ideology. Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor in 1978, while suffering from breast cancer herself. In her study she reveals that the metaphors and myths surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the suffering of the patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper treatment.

By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, Sontag shows cancer for what it is – a disease; not a curse, not … More