Translating Medicine Part I: Introduction

Roanne Kantor // We’re rounding out the first year at Synapsis. It makes me want to come full circle, to re-approach the very first questions I asked in this venue: about the nature of interdisciplinary research on health and medicine, and the shared language we develop to make that research possible. The thing about this “department…

Medical Interventions, Suddenness and Finding A New Normal

Kristina Fleuty // I have approached most of my posts for Synapsis during this academic year with a view to relating medical and health humanities topics in some way to veterans or the military experience. For my final post this year, I return to Harry Parker’s contemporary novel, Anatomy of a Soldier, aspects of which…

The Complicated History of the Visual Analog Scale: Part 1

Gabi Schaffzin // A few hours after knee surgery, a nurse or doctor might come into your room and ask how you’re feeling. They might show you a scale of 6 faces like this: Maybe a notched line like this: Or, they might show you this line. It will probably have two phrases on it:…

Veterans, Transition and Bodily Identity

Kristina Fleuty // I wonder, does engaging in writing practices offer any health benefits specifically to the veteran population? Furthermore, if there is evidence of health benefits; does any of this evidence offer insight into how the individual comes to terms with their changing bodily and psychological identity during the transition process? I would like…

A Few Thoughts on EVE: Danger, Desire, and Reproductive Control

Livia Arndal Woods // The possibility of divorcing reproduction from the maternal body fascinates and haunts the human imagination. The dangers of and desire for such separation – for ectogenesis – has been of particular interest in science fiction. Indeed, the oxforddictionaries.com definition of ectogenesis reads: “(chiefly in science fiction) the development of embryos in…

A social and scientific history of hormones

Kathryn Cai // In her forthcoming book Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything (June 2018), Randi Hutter Epstein faces a daunting challenge in charting the history of hormonal science from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century United States. Beginning with the freak shows of the 1890s, which Epstein…

Metaphor, Medical Decisions and the Military Mindset

Kristina Fleuty // How would you describe what it is like to live with an injured and chronically painful limb? How would you communicate to a medical professional your reasoning for wanting the elective amputation of that limb? I have recently been pondering how people talk about their bodily experiences, both to their friends and…

Outing Oliver Sipple: The Health Effects of Being Outed as a Gay Hero

John A. Carranza // Last month, Love, Simon the film adaptation of the young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was released. The movie has garnered recognition for being one of the first major motion pictures that addressed the experience of being a gay teenager struggling with his identity under…

Towards a Meditation on Pain

How do people talk about and understand lived experiences of pain? For the past year, I have immersed myself in the world of qualitative research into lived experiences of trauma, including in relation to amputation, a large part of which is the experience, management and understanding of pain. Some of this research has been motivated…