17 e-Letters

published between 2008 and 2011

  • Re:Possible explanations
    Manuel Vazquez Caruncho

    We thank Dr. Ntanda for his interesting remarks, but we disagree with them. We think temporal lobe epilepsy is the most plausible diagnosis because Chopin had paroxysmal crisis as he was disconnected from reality. Sand and Mme Streicher narrated it quite precisely. To the best of our knowledge he had neither alteration in his mental status, nor problems in orientation, nor cognition deficit, thus a confusional state see...

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  • Possible explanations
    Andrew K Ntanda

    I read with interest Caruncho and Fernandez postulation of Chopin possibly having temporal lobe epilepsy, and resultant complex hallucinations. I was struck by a few other explanations which could account for these bizarre phenomena. He was in a state of poor health, and could have had a few subacute confusional state in clear consciousness. Secondly it is not uncommon for truly gifted people such as Chopin to have synaes...

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  • Re:Composing causes of death and disease
    Manuel Vazquez Caruncho

    We thank van Bodegom and Engelaer for their interesting letter. They pose a fundamental philosophic and practical issue in modern medicine: causation. Nevertheless, we did not intend to elaborate a causal network of the diseases of Chopin. Our aim was to find an explanation to a few biographical accounts of the composer and make a retrospective clinical diagnosis. Our diagnostic guess is a syndromic one as we can't provi...

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  • Embarrassing Bodies
    susanne stevens mccabe

    One of the best episodes (and probably most shocking to thousands of people of all ages)of a medical programmes in UK dealt exactly with the need to reassure people about the huge variation in genitalia. Shocking because genitalia are so taboo that a penis still cannot usually even be shown on TV. The programme continues to run a web site so that people can see different genitalia for themselves and also to share experi...

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  • Can physicians sanction religious/ spiritual treatment alongside conventional medical therapy?
    Deen M Mirza

    I would like to commend the authors for implementing an interesting and pertinent educational programme on spirituality. As a primary care doctor seeing patients in the Middle East, I am aware of the wide range of complaints Muslim patients will attribute to spirit or 'jinn' possession, ranging from infertility, to headaches, to depression and so on.

    Our approach in dealing with such health beliefs in Muslim pati...

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  • Composing causes of death and disease
    David van Bodegom

    Caruncho and Fernandez interpreted Chopin's hallucinations as temporal lobe epilepsy.(1) Recently, Karhausen examined the 140 causes of death of Mozart that have been proposed in the medical literature.(2) These studies on both composers nicely illustrate how a mechanistic view of death and disease still dominates modern medicine.

    Identifying the cause of death can be difficult. Many physicians will share the e...

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  • Reflection depends on culture as much as on language
    Deen M Mirza

    Dear Editor

    I read this article with great interest, as it relates closely to my own practice teaching final year students in the Middle East. An important outcome of our family medicine clerkship in the UAE is the ability to reflect - upon oneself, one's patients and the healthcare system within which the students work.

    Many students find this type of analysis difficult. Part of this may be related to...

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  • Alternative Medicine is a Useful Concept
    Harri Hemila
    Pekka Louhiala argues that "there is no alternative medicine" because "it escapes a meaningful definition, and 'alternative medicine' cannot be clearly differentiated from conventional medicine" [1]. I do not consider that his arguments are valid.

    Louhiala does not mention the proposed definitions for "alternative medicine". For example, Eisenberg defined alternative medical therapies as "interventions neither taught...
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  • Response
    S J Lund

    I believe no mental patient should have family members make decisions for them, as this can make the patient even more irritable. Ask the patient what they want to achieve. Just like when someone is dying you wouldn't disrespect their wishes.

    Conflict of Interest:

    None declared

  • another reference in Jules Romains
    Jillian I Fryer

    You might also be interested in the character of Doctor Bompard (is this name a French pun?) in Jules Romains' The Body's Rapture and his long speech towards the end of the book, pages 428-429. This is not specifically about medicine, though Bompard is a ship's doctor, but about the purported march forward of science and philosophy since the Renaisance and of course refering back to the ancient Greeks. In this case it i...

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