History

Stanford Medicine 25 Blog

  • The Jugular Venous Pulse – Circa 1957

    In 1902 Sir James Mackenzie published a book entitled “The Study of the Pulse. Arterial, venous, and hepatic and of the movements of the heart” that described his studies on the jugular pulse using what would later and famously be known as the “Mackenzie polygraph”. He was the first to make recordings of the arterial...


  • The History of Pulsus Paradoxus

    A thyroid bruit is described as a continuous sound that is heard over the thyroid mass. (If you only hear something during systolic, think about a carotid bruit or radiating cardiac murmur.) A thyroid bruit is seen in Grave’s disease from a proliferation of the blood supply when the thyroid enlarges.


  • The History of the Reflex Hammer

    Did you know the first hammers weren’t used for reflexes? They were initially used for percussion. The first hammer used for percussion was created by a Scottish physician Sir David Barry in the early 1800’s.


  • The Birth of Percussion

    Leopold Auenbrugger was a physician, but he was also a composer who wrote an opera for an Austrian empress. However the coming together of music and medicine had its origins in watching his father tap on the side of wine barrels to determine their contents.


  • 10 Osler-isms to Remember in Your Daily Practice

    William Osler’s life and work remains so instructive. Here at Stanford we invoke his name often, and have something we call an “Osler Evening” to honor him; these are evenings where we interview a faculty member on stage, getting to know a bit about their life, the journey they made to get where they are.


  • On Chekhov: The Marriage of Medicine and Literature

    Anton Chekhov, Russian physician-playwright from Tagranog, must have written about more than a hundred physician characters in his literary career.


  • The History of Bedside Ultrasound: From Submarines to Sub-Interns

    Among the myriad of modern diagnostic tools, few can claim the certainty, consistency, and intimacy of ultrasound. In contrast to other dominant types of medical imaging characterized by large, foreign machines and uncomfortable noise and positioning, this sound-based imaging technique is one of the least intimidating and widely-used exam method, applied in fields ranging from Pulmonology and Gastroenterology to Obstetrics and Gynecology.


  • The Babinski Sign

    Among the key players in the neurological revolution of the early 19th Century, few may claim as much lasting relevance as Jean-Martin Charcot. Lending his eponym to phenomena such as Charcot’s Joint (diabetic arthropathy), Charcot’s Triad (acute cholangitis) and most notably Charcot’s Disease (ALS), the French physician is widely considered to be a progenitor of modern neuroscience and psychology.


  • Erb and Westphal

    Wilhelm Heinrich Erb of Bavaria, an internist interested in neurology, was a professor in Heidelberg, Germany. He is most known for writing about the importance of deep tendon reflexes to the neurological exam in the January 1875 issue of Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten.


  • What is the Sister Mary Joseph nodule?

    A 78 year woman presents with weight loss, lethargy and abdominal pain. Clinical examination showed abdominal distention and a firm, non-tender, irregular 1 cm nodule within the umbilicus...


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