Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Thomas Hodgkins (1798-1866)

I got curious about the person Hodgkins Lymphoma is named for. I imagined somebody like the guy in the Thomas Eakins painting, The Gross Clinic. You know, some guy in a long black coat with a scalpel.

Thomas Hodgkins was a Quaker and I did find a picture of him. He studied to be an apothacary and then a physician. He was the kind of stiff, religious guy who would refuse to take an oath to tell the truth in court because as a Quaker he always told the truth. He was also the kind of man who would work ten and twelve hour days at a public clinic, treating the poor of London. Principled, outspoken in his Quaker way, and respected as a pathologist.

As a physician he seems to have managed to be a smart guy in the right place at the right time--he spent some time in Paris where he learned how to use the stethescope from Rene Laemec, who invented it, and brought it back to London.

In his first year at Guy's Hospital in London, he had a patient, a nine year old boy, who died. Hodgkins did an autopsy which showed that the lymph nodes were enlarged and hard. They were 'in chains' (which I assume means he found clusters of nodes.) He described what he found, and that's how Hodgkins Lymphoma got its name. He published a paper in 1832 On Some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen. He died in Palestine giving medical aid to Jewish settlers.

Hodgkins Lymphoma (called Hodgkins Disease) was pretty much a death sentence until the 1940s, but trials with irradiation therapy made it one of the first cancers to be treatable. But the strangest treatment may be mustard gas. Apparently after an explosion in a shipyard in Bari, Italy exposed soldiers to mustard gas, doctors noticed that the gas suppressed the immune and lymphatic systems. So in the late 40's and early 50's, clinicians started treating Hodgkins by injecting a form of mustard gas into the patient.

It's a pretty graphic reminder of the way chemo works. You poison the patient and hope that the cancer dies first. There is still a chemo regimen (call MOPP) used for relapsing Hodgkins that uses mustargen, the mustard gas drug. My particular regimen, ABVD, has mostly replaced MOPP because it is less toxic and has fewer longterm effects.

I am always astonished at the chain of observation and serendipity upon which so much science is founded. Soldiers are exposed to mustard gas, their immune and lymphatic systems are supressed, and someone notes that observation and thinks of Hodgkins disease. Makes me feel lucky.


Blogger David Moles said...

It's the mysterious Ebenezer Non-Hodgkins that I wonder about. (But On Some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen is a pretty good title.)

I seem to remember hearing somewhere that mustard gas was also a good fertilizer. Better living through chemistry!

December 21, 2004 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Maureen, I'm not really Anonymous, I'm Paula Fleming. Congratulations on cleaning your kitchen (12/17). I wish someone would clean mine. I think I subconsciously believe that the dirt will reach a critical mass whereupon it will react with itself, release a bunch of energy, and turn into a little gray powder that I can scoop up and toss in the trash.

Medical stuff is all pretty fascinating. And the Internet lets us find out all kinds of stuff the very day we get an itch to do research. Knowledge often isn't power, but it feels good anyway.

Even if essence of mustard gas can treat Hodgkins, I'm rather glad you're not getting that put into you. My oldest dog is taking a close chemical relative of DDT to treat his Cushing's Disease (after reading your journal, I now wonder how they figured that one out), and I feel weird every time I put it in his mouth. What a thing to feed a pet.

Keep making plans! Life is really no more ambiguous now than before. :)

December 21, 2004 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed by different ways people have to observing and interacting with the world at large.

So these guys are always comparing and looking for effects and causes. Or my husband looks at something mechanical that is broken and can see the chain in how to fix it.

The skills - or ways of seeing - that I don't have (or don't have practice in) always fascinate and impress me.


December 21, 2004 2:22 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Hey Paula! How are you?! (You better be writing.)

I'm just glad I don't have to take DDT or Mustard Gas.

December 21, 2004 4:43 PM  
Blogger Pamela said...


I've had Hodgkin's as well, and your site is interesting to read. Back to all the posts and comments, and then I'll write again. Best wishes to you over the holidays for feeling OK-


December 21, 2004 8:31 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Hi Maureen. I just found this blog via the link from David Moles' Chrononautic Log, and have started working my way through the back entries.

Just to respond to a comment from David:

I seem to remember hearing somewhere that mustard gas was also a good fertilizer.I don't think mustard gas is, but I think I know what you heard. Chemical explosives make good fertilizers. The synthetic fertilizer industry arose because people noticed that the grass around munitions factories was especially green and lush. It's the nitrogen.

This is why a few tons of fertilizer is the first thing people purchase when making a truck bomb. This is also why countries accused of having bomb-making factories can say those are just fertilizer factories; it's not that big a difference.

December 24, 2004 3:29 AM  
Blogger Azhar Hussein said...

Hi :)

I absolutely love your blog! I'll definitely bookmark it, keep up the great work.

Please check out my site if you get some time: The Coolest Guy On The Planet

October 01, 2005 1:26 PM  
Blogger Azhar Hussein said...

Hi :)

I love your blog and will be sure to bookmark it. Keep up the great work!

Please visit my site if you get some time: The Coolest Guy On The Planet

October 02, 2005 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Nice blog! I have a _____________ blog, you should check it out, before I comment spam all the oxygen out of the room!

(Spammers are slime. Period.)

January 16, 2006 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I moved to Israel a couple of years ago. Yesterday, I was at a new doctor, dealing with the flu. When I mentioned my history of Hodgkins, he said "You know, here's buried here." That's the first I'd heard of it.

He says Hodgkins is buried in Jaffa. The grave's in what's now a back yard, with a few others. I tried to find more info on the Web and couldn't, but I found your blog. If I find it (I'm in no rush), I'll post something on my blog and try to remember to put something here.

David Teich

March 07, 2007 3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,

徵信, 徵信社,徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 離婚, 外遇,離婚,

徵信社,外遇, 離婚, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 外遇, 徵信,外遇, 抓姦, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社,徵信,徵信,

March 24, 2009 12:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home