Blind alleys and dead ends: researching innovation in late 20th century surgery

How do medical innovations evolve? In “Blind alleys and dead ends: researching innovation in late 20th century surgery,” Harriet Palfreman and Roger Kneebone examine the fortunes of a surgical innovation—the PCCL (percutaneous cholecystolithotomy) treatment of gallstones—in the late 20th century. In 1988, eight patients underwent the procedure, which required extracting the gallstones using an endoscope […]

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Women, ‘madness’ and exercise

“Exercise is not politically neutral,” writes Jennifer Jane Hardes. That is, “within what has been declared a ‘risk society’ exercise ought to be examined critically as a new potential mode of self-regulation.” In what is both a concise and rich account “of knowledges about exercise and women’s mental health that emerged throughout the late 19th […]

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Eating disorders, interpretation and the case for creative bibliotherapy research

Is reading good for you? Emily Troscianko takes a long look at bibliotherapy and its therapeutic implications for eating disorders. As she points out in ‘Fiction-reading for good or ill: eating disorders, interpretation and the case for creative bibliotherapy research‘, little is known about the efficacy of such interventions, despite the wide use of fiction […]

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Opioids and pain in the emergency department: a narrative crisis

The commentary by Jay Baruch and Stacey Springs, ‘Opioids and pain in the emergency department: a narrative crisis’, is available through open access in the current issue of Medical Humanities. A young woman presents to the emergency department in a sickle cell crisis, complaining of unbearable pain. When asked to rate it on a scale of […]

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Optimal Relief for Pain at the End of Life: A Caregiver’s Tale

In his article for our June special issue, “Pain and its Paradoxes”, David B. Morris offers a heartfelt account of his experience occupying a “third-person position” as an end-of-life caregiver to his late wife, Ruth C. Morris, and a reflection on the role of palliative pain-relief for the dying. Remarking on how biomedicine is often […]

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Pain as Performance: Re-Virginisation in Turkey

In an article for our June special issue “Pain and its Paradoxes”, “Pain as Performance: Re-Virginisation in Turkey,” Hande Güzel turns to an analysis of acute pain related to re-virginisation, a surgical process of hymenoplasty that women in Turkey undertake to satisfy social expectations regarding virginity upon marriage. These expectations lead to the performance of what […]

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Adaptive Frameworks of Chronic Pain: Daily Remakings of Pain and Care at a Somali Refugee Women’s Health Centre

In her article from our June special issue, “Pain and its Paradoxes”, Kari Campeau investigates how Somali women living in the US understand their experience of chronic pain, its treatment and their strategies for coping with that pain in her study, “Adaptive Frameworks of Chronic Pain: Daily Remakings of Pain and Care at a Somali […]

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Shifting Understandings of Labour Pain in Canadian Medical History

Here we continue showcasing articles from our June special issue on “Pain and its Paradoxes”. Beginning with the observation that the pain associated with childbirth is a universal biological reality, Whitney Wood, in her article “Shifting Understandings of Labour Pain in Canadian Medical History,” explores how such pain is nevertheless understood in different ways by […]

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Before Narrative: Episodic Reading and Representations of Chronic Pain

In “Before Narrative: Episodic Reading and Representations of Chronic Pain,” an article in our June special issue on “Pain and its Paradoxes”, Sara Wasson counterpoises fragmentary, incomplete and episodic forms of writing to teleogenetic narratives that make the experience of chronic pain coherent and, in doing so, risk marginalising the voices of those whose experience does […]

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