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The Despicable Dr. Julius Reiter

One of the greatest tributes a physician can receive is to have a medical condition named after him. For example, I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Mike Leventhal and remember how all the residents in training with me treated him with the greatest reverence because he was the Leventhal of Stein-Leventhal syndrome, also...

Antonio Vivaldi’s Asthma

Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4th, 1678. He became a famous opera and classical music composer because he had asthma. He was known as the “Red Priest” because of his red hair that he inherited from his father. His father was a barber and a professional violinist who taught Antonio to play...

Vera Caslavska: Marriage of Two Great Olympic Athletes

If you are envious of great athletes, read the true story of what happened when two Olympic athletes married. Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia (born May 3, 1942) won 35 medals, (including 22 gold) at the Olympic Games and at world and European championships. She was the dominant athlete of the 1968 Olympics when she...

Emily Dickinson, SAD Poet

Emily Dickinson was probably America’s greatest female poet, but during her lifetime she wrote only for herself. Because she felt that her work was of inferior quality, only seven of her 1768 poems were published during her lifetime. I will give you clues that should lead you to tell what disease she had. She spent...

Mamo Wolde, Olympian

In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, 36-year-old Mamo Wolde won the marathon and took second in the 10,000-meter run. He spent the last years of his life in prison for crimes that he probably did not commit. MY CONTACT WITH MAMO WOLDE AND ABEBE BIKILA: In 1963, Olympic champion Abebe Bekila and his virtually...

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Power of Observation

Students in every medical school hear the same stories heard in every other medical school, but they usually believe that these stories happened to their own professors at their own school. Here is a story that I heard when I was in medical school in the 1950s. DR HOFF’S STORY: Dr. Hebel Hoff was chairman...

Mozart’s Sore Throat

In 1791, arguably the world’s most gifted composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, died at the very young age of 35. His death was rumored to have been caused by poisoning by Antonio Salieri, a court composer in Austria who was jealous of Mozart’s great talent and success. In 1823, 22 years after Mozart’s death, Salieri, who...

Stella Walsh, Olympic Female Sprint Champion

Stella Walasiewicz, later known as Stella Walsh, won the women’s 100-meter dash at the 1932 Olympics for Poland. Four years later, at the 1936 Berlin Olympics she took silver, beaten by the American, Helen Stephens. Stephens also set new world records for the 200m and the standing broad jump, and won the shot put. Stella...

Patrick Henry’s Wife

The next time you go to Richmond, Virginia, visit the Patrick Henry House in nearby Hanover County and you will see a first-floor room with bars over the windows and steel locks on the doors. The guide will tell you that Patrick Henry’s wife was crazy, and that Patrick Henry did not want to...

Who Killed President Garfield?

Who really killed the 20th President of the United States, James Abram Garfield? On July 21, 1881, 200 days after being elected president, Garfield was boarding a train in Washington DC when Charles Guiteau fired two bullets at him. One caused a superficial arm wound. The other entered in the right side of his...

Who Killed George Washington?

On December 12th, 1799, 67-year-old George Washington rode for five hours on horseback on the snowy fields of his farm. The next day, he complained of a severe sore throat and sounded hoarse. On day three, he had chills, could hardly speak and had difficulty breathing. He was unable to swallow a mixture of...

George Gershwin, Incorrectly Diagnosed with Depression

George Gershwin was arguably America’s greatest composer of Broadway musicals and movie film scores, and was always the bon vivant of every party he attended. He wrote the enormously successful “Swanee” at age nineteen. He was a playboy who rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, and was also a natural athlete and a...