Vicarious (nasal) menstruation

Hippocrates himself is known to have said that when a woman’s menses are due, but instead of the usual vaginal menstrual flow, she has a haemorrhage from the nose, then this is a sure sign of pregnancy [1]. Artist’s impression...

From Hippocrates to COVID-19: sniffing out the disease

The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, used the ‘art of smell’ to diagnose diseases around 400BC. He also formulated miasmatic theory, which posited that disease is caused by bad smells. Bad air was strongly believed by many physicians to be the...

Themistocles Gluck – the true father of laryngectomy

Most head and neck surgeons and ENT-specialists may know that the first laryngectomy for cancer was performed by Billroth on 31 December 1873. Billroth´s assistant, Vincenz Czerny, had outlined the operation in experimental surgery on dogs in 1870. Three years...

The fatal illness of Frederick the Noble

Sir Morell Mackenzie is acknowledged as the ‘Father of British Otolaryngology’. He was the leading throat specialist of his time and one of the founders of the Journal of Laryngology and Otology in 1887. He studied in Paris, Vienna and...

Not just the scissors: the story of Myron Metzenbaum

Myron Metzenbaum was born in Cleveland, Ohio (USA) in 1876, the fourth of nine children. As a young man, he worked in the family’s linen store, where his father was well known to be very kind to the less fortunate...

Allergy – what’s in a name?

Allergy is defined as an “abnormal immune reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance” [1], however the meaning of the word has taken many forms since its introduction in 1906 by Austrian Paediatrician and Immunologist, Clemens von Pirquet [2]. Combining his...

The father of the history of otology

This year marks the centenary of the death of Adam Politzer (1835-1920). He has been described as the Father of Otology [1] and was certainly the most influential person in otology in the latter half of the 19th century [2]....

ENT and the Titanic

One otolaryngologist who perished on the ill-fated voyage of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912 was Dr Ernest Moraweck, a prominent physician with an interest in ENT (and ophthalmology), living in Frankfort, Kentucky, USA [1]. Moraweck was an inventive...

Oscar Wilde’s Final Irony

The celebrated writer and poet, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on 16 October 1854 in Dublin. He distinguished himself as a classicist at Trinity College Dublin before, earning a scholarship to Oxford University, where he gained a double...

Beware of Bicycle Face!

Many of us were told as children that we would get square eyes from watching too much television. But spare a thought for those late Victorian ladies, embracing their first taste of liberty on a bicycle, who were threatened with...

Freud’s Friend, Fliess

Wilhelm Fliess, a Berlin rhinologist, was for many years Sigmund Freud’s closest friend and confidant. He was born in Poland in 1858. In 1887, he visited Vienna for postgraduate studies, and met the famous psychoanalyst, Freud [1]. They were immediate...

Murder most foul, strange and unnatural

Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare at the very beginning of the 17th century has definite otological interest. The whole play is about young Prince Hamlet’s revenge for his father’s murder. The king is killed by Hamlet’s wicked uncle, who then...

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