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Remembrance of things past

One of Galen's favourite subjects was the eye and vision. In On the Usefulness of the Parts of the Body he wrote a section entitled “On the eyes and their accessory organs.” In it he provided descriptions of the aqueous and vitreous humours and many parts of the eye, including the conjunctiva, cornea, iris, lens, choroid, and sclera. He also described the retina, an anatomical term that has as its root the Latin wordrete, meaning “net.” Galen likened the retina to a net because it fell around the lens during an eye dissection in the same way that a limp net might fall around a fish. (Stanley Finger. Minds Behind the Brain: A History of the Pioneers and their Discoveries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000:45)

Website for “drug free practitioners”

The pharmaceutical industry gave $7.2 billion worth of samples to US doctors in 1999. Now a group of physicians who call themselves No Free Lunch plans to publicise a list of physicians who have pledged to be “drug company free.” Doctors who sign up to the drug free practitioners list must pledge to be free of company money and influence in their clinical practice, teaching, and research. The website is (Western Journal of Medicine 2001;174:163).

Tuna burgers can make you sick

Histamine poisoning occurs when people ingest fish in which bacteria have converted histidine to histamine, a process which can usually be retarded by storing the fish at low temperatures. A recent study in North Carolina documents that this seemingly rare event has dramatically increased. Tuna burgers …

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