Earlier this month, Youyou Tu was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, also known as qinghaosu. She is the first Chinese Nobel recipient for work that was done in mainland China. Dr. Tu's studies were done in the midst of the Cultural Revolution, a politically precarious time for Chinese academics, which adds a layer of historical complexity to her work. It is difficult to overstate the importance of artemisinin to anti-malarial efforts. Unfortunately, artemisinin-resistant strains of malaria are already beginning to appear only thirty years after the drug was introduced.
In 2009, Urumqi, China exploded in riots. The assessment of Western media was on-going ethnic clashes. Behind the scenes, Beijing now stands accused of The Xinjiang Procedure, ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. [more inside]
Old anatomical illustrations that provide a unique perspective on the evolution of medical knowledge in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868) [more inside]
Canadian War Poster Collection at McGill University. And if that doesn't strike your fancy, the list of digital collections include such time-honoured favourites as Expo '67, and the award-winner for unexpected collection, Gynaecology in Traditional Chinese Medicine. (previously)
Do you have a yearning to be online? Do you suffer from difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritation, or mental or physical distress? According to doctors in China, you might have an internet addiction. [more inside]
"Hidden within the basement archives of Yale University's Historical Medical Library lie the original oil painting collection and personal papers of the first American surgeon to practice in China." Extraordinary paintings of compassion in a medical setting. [Warning, these are graphic depictions, some NSFW] Elegant, disturbing and moving portraits of patients by Lam Qua, commissioned by a medical missionary named Peter Parker in the 1830's. [No, not that Peter Parker. Via MeFite tellurian's awesome blog]. [more inside]
Japanese Medical Prints. Part of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, at the Kansas University Medical Center, and donated by Dr. Matthew Pickard. The digital collections at the Clendening Library also include Florence Nightingale's letters, old school Chinese public health posters, and images from old medical and natural history texts.
I researched and put an infopiece together after recently learning of bile bears here on Metafilter. Even as an animal professional, I was unaware of the existence of bile bears. Now I know: Bile Bears are live moon bears that are turned into living crated "bile kegs," the bear's bile being extracted by means of a surgically implanted tube and used to treat conditions as varied as gallstones, kidney disorder, and (of course) impotence. After the long-suffering bear dies, the creature's body parts are then sold off individually for further monetary gain. Indeed, it is an appalling practice, but worse I learned the practice is spreading, and in fact demand for bear products is now affecting the bear population of North America, as North American bears are being illegally hunted and harvested for their parts to be used domestically and abroadin the preparation of traditional Chinese medicine.
Pssst -- buddy, wanta buy a kidney? There is a regular trade from China of transplant organs taken from executed prisoners. People from the US have been travelling there and buying organs, then coming back to the US. Should we do anything about this, and if so what?