Blog, Events

Sunny Sunday in May

It’s just a sunny Sunday in May and the upcoming day the weather will be good too in The Netherlands according to the weather forecasts.

The last couple of days I have been busy with study, travelling as a little tourist in my own country and family and friends. As well as going to some IT related events and speaking to some startup businesses. These days have been very inspiring and I am planning something to do during summer as a blog tour. Ideas ideas and ideas. And it is all noted in my new notebook – in the other little one was no space left for all my ideas while being travelling now and then. Are you curious for where I have been to the past couple of days? Take a look at my Instagram or LinkedIn for parts of the answer. The rest will be blogged about.

Have a nice sunny Sunday!

Greetings by Sophie

Blog, Events

April 2017 update | Life of an IT student

Time flies when you are…

… busy

… having fun

… living life

… studying hard

… working on your career

… improving and expanding knowledge

… being active and sporting

… and take some rest now and then of course

— ‘April 4th, 2017, written by Sophie van den Akker’

Life of an IT student

Hello readers!

Time really flies between the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The last couple of weeks have been busy and inspiring, motivating by living life and having fun as well, and studying hard to improve my skills and expand my knowledge. Tomorrow is a big day – maybe I achieve my second Propedeuse at a University of Applied Sciences. This time in Software Engineering and I have already a Propedeuse degree in Media & Entertainment Management.

Today started a new project about making a Proof of Concept of an idea in ‘The Internet of Things’ sector. 
Have you ever heard of, or been in touch with, ‘The Internet of Things’ ?
. It seems like not even 50% of people worldwide have really heard about what it is – except for the terminology – and not even 25% has seen or experienced something – knowingly – about it. I will write about this project later on but I will not spoil the idea we have as a project group because we are also making this Proof of Concept for a real company. Tomorrow a final check of workshops before Girlsday. The day we promote coding among young girls a give a little workshop. I do this in the name of the organisation Dresscode Rotterdam, shortly Dresscode. Dresscode is a network of students that promote coding among young women and girls in high or primary or secondary school. We learn to give workshops as well and we design them. It is always a different experience and thursday on April 13th 2017 Girlsday is coming up throughout The Netherlands. Together with some fellow students we give some workshops from different parts of technical studies.

Let’s have a recap about the past two months:

February

In February the previous project was still part of that month. I did not like the project without frameworks, I have written about it in: January 2017 update | Life of an IT student .

The second week of February started with a new semester. This third trimester of the year that is still going on, started with Development Statistics with R and Analysis with Cyber Security. Both subjects are very interesting and different in learning and implementing.
I have also been a lot to the zoo these months because I had more free time and love to visit the zoo now and then when it is not too busy. I have also followed a tour ‘Behind the scenes of the Oceanium‘ in Diergaarde Blijdorp Zoo, Rotterdam. Another blog post will be written about this special tour. Meanwhile I was getting busier with study again but have also visited finally the musical ‘The Lion King’. Yes the Dutch version in the AFAS Circustheatre Scheveningen. But it was lovely and a really really good show! Another blog post especially about this musical visit will come up soon.

The video I made about a Polar Bear in the zoo. Copyright by Sophie van den Akker

The photo of the entrance of the circus theatre in Scheveningen. Copyright by Sophie van den Akker

The Ferris Wheel on the famous pier at the boulevard in Scheveningen. Copyright by Sophie van den Akker

March

In march I have been to a concert in the famous ‘Concertgebouw’ , classic music hall, in Amsterdam. A special concert about not many times performed pieces composed by the composer Mahler and other pieces composed by the composer Elgar. The conductor was Sir Elliot Gardiner and the mezzo soprano was Ann Hallenberg. What a beautiful concert! Classical music is not reviewed before on my blog though I play the piano and the soprano and alto saxophone. I will write a blog post about this as well. The experience of the concert, some investigation about the composers, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the conductor and last but not least the mezzo soprano.

The concert in ‘Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam’. Copyright by Sophie van den Akker

Further on in March I have had some big deadlines for study and another exam week, but that is something that is – until I am doing an internship – always the matter. As a new experience I have given a workshop for teacher training students and I have had several meetings with students and teachers about Dresscode. And last but not least, during the last week of March the Dutch Book Week started! I have been to two talks, one with writer Marcel Möring interviewing writer Connie Palmen. And the talk following up was the talk again hosted by bookshop Donner, writer Marcel Möring interviewing Sonja Barend – a Dutch famous former television personality. It was both lovely and inspiring and a blog post will be coming up.

The two book talks in bookshop Donner, Rotterdam. Copyright by Sophie van den Akker

And as you see I have posted several photos on Instagram and share them now on my blog to have some visuals with my little updates.

How have been your February and March?

Greetings by Sophie

Blog

Rotterdam shows solidarity with the Union Jack

The terrible attack yesterday at Westminster, London. It has taken lives and many people are injured, some still critical. But it did not tear apart the strength of the love of people for each other. To help anywhere they can.

Rotterdam shows its solidarity for the victims and the braves and the helping, with the Union Jack for one day half-mast at the town hall.

And the sun was shining today. A new day, because life goes on, everybody united and not ripped apart by terror.

 

Thoughts from Sophie

Blog, Events, Lifestyle

Happy Sophie’s Blog Anniversary!

Happy Sophie’s Blog Anniversary!

Two years ago, in the early days of March, I started with this blog. I love reading and writing since I can read and write. Being creative with poems about animals, people or just things that happen during a normal day. Writing little stories with those poems and writing little stories in diaries. Now and then I thought about writing a book. I specified all the characters to start with, wrote the first half chapter and then…probably…my inspiration was gone or I was distracted in so many other things that can inspire you when you are a teenager. I was back then.

Before this blog I had as a young little girl my own “magazine” written in Word, I think this was during my Elementary School years. During my junior High School years, I had some designed ‘pet pages’ on Neopets and my own ‘Kindertent’ website with a fan page of ‘Harry Potter’ – somewhere until around 2006. And after a few years I started with my own Blogger.com website. This was somewhere during the summer holiday after graduating in 2011. Sadly I have deleted this blog, well I have transferred it to another version I made on Blogger and so on. Two blogs on Blogger and even a Google Sites blog – to have more creative possibilities – later and a little break….and it was March 2015.

During 2014 I was experiencing a bit with WordPress because this was the biggest ‘other blogging option’ left after my previous – not satisfying enough – tries. It took a couple of days before I was satisfied with the layout and thought I had all opportunities maximized in use. And back then when I just entered my early twenties…I started this blog! Two years later I am still in my early twenties though haha.

And maybe you have noticed for this anniversary: an own domain name and a new layout! 🙂 Read on for the whole story about my blogging experience.

The Headers

Twenty Fourteen theme, first header 2014 experiencing

I started back then with the ‘Twenty Fourteen’ theme and this header above.

Twenty Fourteen Theme, header 2 2015 Later on Hemingway Rewritten theme as well – switched back shortly

Later on I changed the header into a more photographic one with a butterfly. I love the blue colour of the butterfly and the green differences in the background, not just one color but a bit lively.

Theme Hemingway Rewritten primary Switched to Twenty Fourteen theme shortly – 2015

During the summer of 2015 when I started with my Facebook Page: Sophie’s Blog , I  thought about making my own featured images in a header style to show the category of a blog post. This way every post from then on has a featured image with information that shows to which category the blog post belongs. This is still my method only the header – and therefore also all those featured images by category – has changed.

2016 – Hemingway Rewritten theme for a long time

Simple and minimal became the new thing. Not to bright, to colourful or a bit sloppy. I started experiencing with a black and white header and attached through Photoshop symmetric two flowers bound by a line that marked my blog title and subtitle. Yes, I called my blog ‘Sophie’s Web’ because it was me writing on the web and experiencing what to do with it. Will it become a blog with one single subject? Will it become a personal website?

New layout and an own domain

Here we are! Anno 2017 at the blog anniversary. A new layout and a new own domain! Welcome to the .blog world!

2016 – Hemingway Rewritten theme shortly | 2016 + 2017 Button theme for a long time | 2017 – March: Dara Theme and own domain name

It became a mixture: A blog with all my personal interests. Not a completely single subject – or three what you see often too – blog. Not a specific book blog, film blog, series blog, IT blog, Lifestyle blog, cooking blog, recipes, gadgets and so on….

This became my combination of everything I am interested in and the subtitle of my previous header was already present in my subconscious – only doubting how it all would result.

The way it is nowadays, designed by myself in simply black and white and a touch of a curly blue sign, I feel most content with. I did some research on signs and if some were religious or had other meanings. This one does not have a particular meaning as far as I discovered. But every time when I see it, I see a bit of a music key in it. For example a twisted simplified G-clef. And I love the font too. It has also its little semi curly effects by thick and thin and straight and italic combined. Took a while before I found a font I was satisfied with.

Maybe I seem a bit picky in every aspect that has to do with my blog – such as menus, social buttons, widgets, fonts, headers, colors, sizes and so on… .
Even after two years, I won’t switch to something else than WordPress. I won’t change my whole personal website and blog.

This is who I am as a blogger, and blogging and reading and broaden my knowledge is what I like to do. Together with writing and telling – ya, people who know me personally know I can talk now and then a lot – stories about everything exciting and positive I experience. In such a broad interest because I love many sorts of things in life and I appreciate every big and every small little thing. Do things that let you smile or just enjoy.

I hope I’ll be for someone an inspiration to do joyful things in life.
Enjoy the little things as well such as watching a film, reading a book or just watching an episode of a series.
Or appreciating a nice photograph or quote or a nice supporting comment.
Appreciate it when someone gives you advice, you can probably learn from it.
Stay always true to yourself.
My blog let’s me smile for already just being there, the space where I can write stuff, gather all my interests an where I can be creative now and then.

I just keep on enjoying the joyful things in life and writing about it.
Thank you for reading this long – personal blogging – story!
Thank you for being one of my true blog fans!
Thank you for your advises!
Just thank you!

Cheers to this Happy Sophie’s Blog Anniversary!

Happily greetings by Sophie

Blog, Social Media

Win iPhone Case 4/4s from Blossom Books

Winner update!

The tombola was going round ‘n round and suddenly, randomly, a name was picked out of all the competitors…

The blog did not meet all the goals yet at March 1st, 2017. So the drawing had taken place at 23:59 at March 1st, 2017.

The winner is: Miss M. Hassell! Congratulations with winning the iPhone 4/4s case from Blossom Books!

Thank you for sharing through Facebook!

 

Thank you all for participating and see you next time!

 

Greetings by Sophie

 

Hi everyone,

It is a sunday in february and I thought: let’s organise win action!

The only thing you have to do is complete one of those three combinations (done within one minute):
Every extra fully completed combination you do is an extra time your name in the gamble box!
  • Follow Sophie’s Blog by email or WordPress itself & like the win action post & repost (if possible otherwise leave a comment)
  • Follow Sophie’s Blog on Facebook & like the win action post & repost (publicly if possible otherwise mention it in a comment below the post)
  • Follow Sophie’s Blog on Twitter & like the win action tweet & retweet (publicly if possible otherwise mention it in a comment below the tweet)
  • Follow Sophie’s Blog on Instagram & like the win action post & repost (publicly if possible otherwise mention it in a comment below the post)
You can win: … An iPhone 4 / 4s Case from ‘Blossom Books’ with the text: “Let’s TALK ABOUT BOOKS”

win-iphone-4-4s-case-blosso

Current State Facts (19 february 2017,  22:00 in Rotterdam)
  • 235 WordPress user followers
  • 93 Facebook Page likes
  • 394 Twitter followers
  • 593 Instagram followers
Goal for winning iPhone 4/4s case: growth of 25% of the ‘Current State Facts’
(number above * 1,25 rounded up)
  • = 294 WordPress user followers
  • = 117 Facebook Page likes
  • = 493 Twitter followers
  • = 742 Instagram followers
When is the drawing of the winner?
  • 1st of March 2017, at 22:00 in Rotterdam
  • OR earlier if all the above goals are met

 

Follow … Like … ‘n Share…

 

Greetings by Sophie

 

Again beware: sending in NL (The Netherlands) only!
Why online in The Netherlands? Because I don’t have the budget (yet) to send items to the rest of Europe or the World.
How did I organise this? Well…bought the wrong size of the case because my previous iPhone was a 5C and a buying the 4/4s case version was a misbuy  and I realised later on that 5/5s cases won’t precisely fit a 5C case. I tried that with another case from a friend. So these cases are not used!

 

Blog, Health, Lifestyle

Essay | Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century | Conclusion

The following parts of my essay have my own copyright in formulation of words, opinions and otherwise sources are mentioned.

The past couple of weeks I have followed the History of Healthcare course as an elective course to broaden my knowledge.
We had to give a presentation about a free chosen subject. I chose to give a presentation about the ‘Antiquity and the Olympics | Medicine in the pre Hippocratic Era’.
And as a final product I chose to write an essay about ‘Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century’.

For these blog posts I will divide my essay into four parts: ‘Introduction’, ‘What is Leprosy?’, ‘Leprosy in the 12th century‘, ‘Leprosy in the 21st century and a conclusion part’.

Greetings by Sophie

Conclusion

In this conclusion I point out again the several little topics that are discussed and the main information that summarizes the comparison between leprosy in the 12th century and leprosy in the 21st century. From the 12th century we can conclude that the term ‘Mycobacterium leprae’ was already known and the leprosy disease was accepted as a serious and contagious disease. The bacillus is aerobic, protected by fat, acid-fast, intercellular and pathogenic. The bacteria is contagious as well and can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing. The leprosy disease is divided into the extreme named ‘Tuberculoid leprosy’ and into the extreme named ‘Lepromatous leprosy’. This last extreme is the most aggressive and evolves quickly by multiplying itself. The human that is infected with this variant of the disease a larger lesion and worse prognosis than a human that is infected with the lighter variant of the disease.

Not all symptoms of the leprosy disease are visible. Such as muscle atrophy and articular deformities or paralysis of the limbs or an early stage of blindness. The visual symptoms are the loss of limbs, chronical wounds on the skin, facial malformations and deformities of the limbs and an advanced stage of blindness. The leprosy disease is spread gradually through the Western and Eastern world since the Roman Empire has fallen. It was misunderstood that it was widely spread by the crusades of the Middle Ages. Humans that were infected by the leprosy disease, were isolated from their environment and gathered in a lazar house. This was also commonly known as ‘house of the living death’ because there was no cure.

What caused the disease was not exactly known during the Middle Ages. But we can conclude that thanks to Galen we know that black bile and the other three humors, had something to do with it. The physicians of the Middle Ages designed a table that divided the leprosy disease into four divisions with their own look-a-like animal effect, humor and the visible symptoms. They knew already that black bile had something to do with it and Galen knew that it spread throughout the body, but not equally. Superstition was during the twelfth century common and it is a miracle that physicians were searching for a cause that was not natural. The infection disease leprosy was widely accepted as a disease you should care about and take into account as a serious illness. The Black Plague was associated with leprosy, but leprosy exists already for over 2000 years and the Black Plague occurred in the 14th century. Christianity believes that Jesus Christ has healed a leper.

In the 21st century leprosy is still widely spread around the world. But the disease is not that common anymore. And more important: we can cure completely with the right treatment. This treatment is a taking a combination of antibiotics for several days. Due to those antibiotics, the bacillus of leprosy will die but will still be present in the human for several years after the treatment. When the treatment is stopped too early, the human could relive the illness. Leprosy is nowadays also known as the ‘Hansen’s disease’ and the NHDP reports that between 150 and 200 human leprosy victims are reported in the United States of America. A recent report is the leprosy of a school child in California, September 2016. This number would be much higher if humans were not cured that often for several issues with antibiotics. More commonly known is the situation of the third-world countries and their chance to completely cure from the leprosy disease. This is why we still find pictures and see real people now and then in the Western world, by the reports that are made about those places.

Today we can also examine skeletons with the help of the ‘Whole Genome Amplification’ method to extract the DNA of skeletons and multiply it for a thorough investigation and diagnostic conclusion. It is also discovered that the bacillus of the leprosy disease multiplies circa once every two weeks. Because of the early and more precise diagnoses about this infection disease, it is not common anymore that the prognosis will be that you will die or lose complete limbs. It is hard to control the disease and the slow outbreak of it completely. A person with leprosy can have the bacteria already for years and spreading it all along before the symptoms more aware occur to the infected person. The bacteria of leprosy multiplies itself every two weeks so it takes time before the infected person realises it has passed the beginning stadium of the disease. Because when a bacteria multiplies itself it grows for example from one hundred to two hundred to four hundred bacillus.

With this essay and with this conclusion I hope that I have written a clear and short overview about the contagious infection disease named ‘leprosy’ which was to manifolding during the Middle Ages and can nowadays be completely cured thanks precise investigations with microbiology and treatment with several antibiotics. I hope that I have broadened your knowledge about the contagious infection disease leprosy and that I have made you aware of that it can be spread easily, can happen to anyone in the world and that there is one remedy: early diagnosis and an antibiotics treatment.

If you happen to meet someone one day with leprosy, help that human because it is so easily and it will prevent the human from dying of leprosy, becoming disabled and it gives that human a happier life, a human who is not isolated from his or her family forever.

Blog, Health, Lifestyle

Essay | Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century | Leprosy in the 21st century

The following parts of my essay have my own copyright in formulation of words, opinions and otherwise sources are mentioned.

The past couple of weeks I have followed the History of Healthcare course as an elective course to broaden my knowledge.
We had to give a presentation about a free chosen subject. I chose to give a presentation about the ‘Antiquity and the Olympics | Medicine in the pre Hippocratic Era’.
And as a final product I chose to write an essay about ‘Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century’.

For these blog posts I will divide my essay into four parts: ‘Introduction’, ‘What is Leprosy?’, ‘Leprosy in the 12th century‘, ‘Leprosy in the 21st century and a conclusion part’.

Greetings by Sophie

Leprosy in the 21st century
The ‘Mycobacterium leprae’
microscopic ‘Mycobacterium leprae’, large cells in bone marrow

In the current century we know leprosy is caused by a very infectious bacillus. And this bacillus can be transferred from one human to another human by sneezing or coughing. That way of spreading is also common among viruses that spread molecules such as the flu. Now and then there is around the seasons autumn and winter a flu outbreak. Today we can recognise and discover the leprosy disease through a microscopic investigation or through radiology of the limbs.

Leprosy around the world

The leprosy disease still occurs around the world. Not that often anymore in Europe and in the United States of America. But is it reported that even in the United States of America there were 175 cases of leprosy. The modern name for leprosy is ‘Hansen’s disease’ and according to the National Hansen’s Disease Program (NHDP), between 150 and 200 humans are victim of the infection disease.  (Hansen Disease – Frequently Asked Questions, 2017). Even in September 2016 a school kid in California was diagnosed with the leprosy disease. (Miller, 2017).

It is more commonly known that in third-world countries, mostly situated in Africa, the leprosy disease occurs more often and more aggressive. It is not that the disease is different over there, it is different because most humans do not recognize it in time. Or at that moment, they are not able to go to the hospital and pay much for the expensive antibiotics treatment. This leprosy disease can occur all around the world.

Leprosy diagnostics

It still occurs that infected humans lose their limbs, get facial malformations or other disabilities that are mention in ‘the symptoms and the visuals’ section of this paper. What we know now is that it is less common that you will lose your limbs if you are infected by this disease. This is because of the early diagnoses and precise diagnoses.

radiology image of lost limbs nowadays
radiology image of lost limbs nowadays

And not only today we investigate the living humans who could have leprosy. But we are also able to investigate skeletons of even hundreds of years old. Thanks to the technologic revolution and improving DNA studies and extractions of parts of the DNA. It is now possible with the ‘Whole Genome Amplification’ method to extract and distract DNA of skeletons and multiply this so that could be examined if a human was infected with the leprosy disease. In 15%-50% of the infected humans it also effected the skeleton. For decades we already examine skeletons for signs of leprosy such as missing partially limbs or malformations of the limbs.

Nowadays we are able to examine those skeletons not only by our sight, but also by the help of genetic research. (Boelaert, 2014). Today it is also thought that the bacillus multiplies circa once every two weeks according to the ‘Lepra Stichting’. So it is not evolving that quickly and we diagnose it early. (Lepra Stichting, 2017) . Modern investigations have also proved that the leprosy disease was gradually spreading through the Western and Eastern world since the Roman Empire had fallen. (Porter, 2006)

Leprosy treatment

It is also thought that this number would be much higher if humans were not cured that often with the aggressive anti solution generally named ‘antibiotics’. Even the aggressive variant of leprosy can be cured by a correct combination of antibiotics for several days. When a treatment is stopped too early, the disease could come back because the bacteria reignite the infection disease and therefore the risk of contamination. What we know now is that after the treatment, the bacteria could still be present in the body for several years. But because it died due to the antibiotics treatment, the bacillus are not causing any risk anymore. (Miller, 2017)

In The Netherlands are several organisations active such as the ‘Lepra Stichting’, ‘Lepra.org’ and the ‘Lilliane Fonds’ to give children all around the world who suffer from leprosy a treatment and a better future. Even the ‘World Health Organisation (WHO)’ has a special information webpage about leprosy because it is still an infection disease that matters to the whole world. [The sources are hyperlinked in this paragraph.]

Bibliography
  • Boelaert, J. R. (2014). De medische renaissance van de twaalfde eeuw. In J. R. Boelaert, De medische renaissance van de twaalfde eeuw (pp. 78 – 88). Antwerpen – Apeldoorn: Garant Uitgevers nv.
  • Hansen Disease – Frequently Asked Questions. (2017, January). Retrieved from HRSA: http://www.hrsa.gov/hansen-disease/
  • Lepra Stichting. (2017, January). Wat is lepra? Retrieved from Lepra Stichting: https://www.leprastichting.nl/wat-doen-we/wat-is-lepra
  • Miller, S. G. (2017, January). Strange Facts about Leprosy. Retrieved from Live Science: http://www.livescience.com/56275-strange-facts-about-leprosy.html
  • Porter, R. (2006). The Cambridge History of Medicine. In R. Porter, The Cambridge History of Medicine (pp. 27, 29, 68, 76, 90, 182, 359,). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Blog, Health, Lifestyle

Essay | Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century | Leprosy in the 12th century

The following parts of my essay have my own copyright in formulation of words, opinions and otherwise sources are mentioned.

The past couple of weeks I have followed the History of Healthcare course as an elective course to broaden my knowledge.
We had to give a presentation about a free chosen subject. I chose to give a presentation about the ‘Antiquity and the Olympics | Medicine in the pre Hippocratic Era’.
And as a final product I chose to write an essay about ‘Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century’.

For these blog posts I will divide my essay into four parts: ‘Introduction’, ‘What is Leprosy?’, ‘Leprosy in the 12th century‘, ‘Leprosy in the 21st century and a conclusion part’.

Greetings by Sophie

Leprosy in the 12 th century
The spreading and isolation

During the Middle Ages, leprosy was already known as an endemic disease that occurred now and then and mostly in the Middle East. Circa the eleventh and twelfth century, leprosy was spread more often the west, Western-Europe nowadays. In the southern parts of The Netherlands they started by isolate the infected humans from the healthy humans by gathering them into special houses for people with the leprosy disease. These houses were also known as the lazar houses and their number increased to numerously in the region of Artesia (now known as ‘Artois’) (Boelaert, 2014). It was not the first kind of isolation of leprosy infected humans because Jerusalem had already for centuries in history special villages outside their city for the sick and infectious people. (Wyler, 1959).

The Netherlands and Flanders

In 1106 A.D. was a lazar house founded in Sint-Omaars and in 1119 in Kamerijk. This was during the crusades and for a long time it was thought that those crusades increased the spreading of leprosy and caused an outbreak of the infection disease. This was misunderstood because the first lazar houses in Western Europe were already founded in the eleventh century. A century later lots of crusades, and the famous children’s crusade of 1212 in the thirteenth century, took place. But it was not illogical thought because of the long incubation period and medics did not
know exactly what was causing the infection disease. One of Flanders monarchy members was a leprosy victim. It was Boudewijn IV (1161 – 1185), king of Jerusalem and grandson of Fulco V from Anju the ancestor of the Flemish monarchy. His life with leprosy is documented by his nearest people and therefore it was thought that through contact of the crusaders with the Middle Eastern people, the leprosy disease was spread suddenly and rapidly. (Boelaert, 2014) (Porter, 2006)

Leprosy theory and diagnostics in the 12th century

During the twelfth century physicians were trying to figure out how leprosy was caused. By what? In which circumstances? What made it such a terrific disease?. What the physicians knew during the Middle Ages, was partly attributable to the humor theory of disease that was explained by the writings of the Greek author Galen (129 – 201 A.D.). Galen explained the humorism by four directions. (Grant, 2000)

In the Middle Ages the physicians believed that the black bile was the major culprit that causes leprosy. They believed that by an abnormal distribution of this fluid through the body, this was causing the illness and the later on disabilities. The physicians assumed that the liver was too dried out and hot at the same time which then caused a cooking temperature of the blood. And this blood transformed into the black bile residue. According to Galen this black bile was spreading throughout the body but not equally spread. (Grant, 2000).

Humorism according to Galen
Figure 2: Humorism according to Galen

In the centuries of the Middle Ages superstition was also common. The humanity which had to deal with the leprosy infection disease, believed that even lentils and meat of a donkey could contribute to the development of the disease. In the twelfth and thirteenth century, the physicians tried to search for an unnatural cause of leprosy rather than the already partially believed natural cause. The humorism of Galen was combined with the symptoms into a new four-part classification of the leprosy disease. The table is as follows:

table
(Boelaert, 2014) (Demaitre, 2007)

Leprosy treatment in the 12 th century

When a human was diagnosed in the twelfth century with one or (often) more types of leprosy, the human was sent to a lazar house unless he or she could pay a physician. This physician could advice a woman to take a bath full of herbs and menstrual blood. Because they believed that bad blood (the black bile) could be fought with strong blood. They believed that ‘the menstrual blood fought against the rotting of the leprosy’ (Boelaert, 2014). The physician advised men in rarely circumstances, that he should be castrated. During the twelfth century they also tried to prevent leprosy by bloodletting and catharsis (purgation). But there was not much known about what exactly caused the disease and how exactly to cure the humans and prevent others. It is in this period of superstition a miracle that an infection disease like leprosy, is accepted in general as a disease without exactly knowing or suspecting what did really cause this leprosy. Two enturies and a few decades later, humanism associated the Black Plague with leprosy. What was not right but it was not inconceivable either for that period of time. The Black Plague occurred in the 14th century and Leprosy exists already for at least 2000 years because in Christianity it is believed that Jesus Christ has healed a leper. (Boelaert, 2014) (Grant, 2000) (Porter, 2006).

Bibliography
  • Boelaert, J. R. (2014). De medische renaissance van de twaalfde eeuw. In J. R. Boelaert, De medische renaissance van de twaalfde eeuw (pp. 78 – 88). Antwerpen – Apeldoorn: Garant Uitgevers nv.
  • Demaitre, L. (2007). Leprosy in premodern medicine | A malady of the whole body. Baltimore: Baltimore Publishers.
  • Grant, M. (2000). Galen on Food and Diet. London and New York: Routledge. Hansen Disease – Frequently Asked Questions. (2017, January). Retrieved from HRSA:
    http://www.hrsa.gov/hansen-disease/
  • Porter, R. (2006). The Cambridge History of Medicine. In R. Porter, The Cambridge History of Medicine (pp. 27, 29, 68, 76, 90, 182, 359,). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wyler, W. (Director). (1959). Ben Hur [Motion Picture].
Blog, Health, Lifestyle

Essay | Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century | What is Leprosy?

The following parts of my essay have my own copyright in formulation of words, opinions and otherwise sources are mentioned.

The past couple of weeks I have followed the History of Healthcare course as an elective course to broaden my knowledge.
We had to give a presentation about a free chosen subject. I chose to give a presentation about the ‘Antiquity and the Olympics | Medicine in the pre Hippocratic Era’.
And as a final product I chose to write an essay about ‘Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century’.

For these blog posts I will divide my essay into four parts: ‘Introduction‘, ‘What is Leprosy?’, ‘Leprosy in the 12th century’, ‘Leprosy in the 21st century and a conclusion part’.

See the links for the previous posts of this series.

Greetings by Sophie

What is leprosy?
The ‘Mycobacterium leprae’

Leprosy is an infection disease that is cause by a bacteria. This bacteria is called in its original Latin ‘Mycobacterium leprae’, a bacillus spirally. (Ryan & Ray, 2004, pp. 451 – 453). The bacteria itself  has several characteristics in microbiology. It is an aerobic bacillus and protected by a thick fat surrounding which is unique for mycobacteria. But nonetheless the bacteria is very active because it is intracellular, full of acid, intercellular and pathogenic. Pathogenic means that the bacillus is of biological origin and is not often called as a poison. But this rare combination of a biological bacillus that is also acid-fast is a very dangerous combination. This all together is called the bacillus that causes leprosy, the ‘Mycobacterium leprae’. (McMurray, 1996) The bacteria is contagious and is usually transmitted through coughing or sneezing. There are some taboos about the disease, but in history it was not known yet.

The two extremes

Leprosy is in an advanced stage very good visible. You would expect that with such an aggressive bacillus that is described here above. But it depends on with which kind of leprosy the person is dealing with. Nowadays leprosy is divided into two extremes of the disease. One section is the ‘Tuberculoid leprosy’, which thanks its name to tuberculosis that is a bit alike but not the same. And the other section is the ‘Lepromatous leprosy’, which is the most known and recognizable section of the disease. (Poli Dermatologie, Academisch Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam, 2012) The ‘Lepromatous leprosy’ is also the most aggressive version of the two divided sections. The symptoms that occur in this section are the more visible symptoms and bacillus multiplies quickly and also the amount of bacillus that is present in the infected person is enormous. Therefore, the lesion is also larger and evolves quicker. (Boelaert, 2014)

The symptoms and the visuals

The most common symptom is that leprosy causes chronical wounds on the skin that heals very slowly and is hard to come across. And another common symptom is that leprosy causes facial malformations, deformities of the limbs such as missing fingers, toes or even complete limbs. It also causes muscle atrophy which means that the muscles are less vigorous and articular deformities are also common and visible in the movements of the infected person. (Boelaert, 2014). Another symptom of the leprosy disease is that it can also cause paralysis to the limbs, commonly hands and feet or blindness to the eyes. This makes the infected person gets unwillingly disabilities and becomes a partly disabled person. (Lepra Stichting, 2017)

Bibliography
  • Boelaert, J. R. (2014). De medische renaissance van de twaalfde eeuw. In J. R. Boelaert, De medischerenaissance van de twaalfde eeuw (pp. 78 – 88). Antwerpen – Apeldoorn: Garant Uitgeversnv.
  • Lepra Stichting. (2017, January). Wat is lepra? Retrieved from Lepra Stichting:https://www.leprastichting.nl/wat-doen-we/wat-is-lepra
  • McMurray, D. (1996). Mycobacteria and Nocardia. In S. Baron, Baron’s Medical Microbiology (4 ed.).Texas, United States of America: University of Texas Medical Branch.
  • Poli Dermatologie, Academisch Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam. (2012). Lepra (Leven met Lepra).Retrieved January 2017, from Huidziekten.nl:https://www.huidziekten.nl/folders/nederlands/lepra.htm
  • Ryan, K., & Ray, C. (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology. United Kingdom: McGraw Hill.
Blog, Health, Lifestyle

Essay | Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century | Introduction to leprosy

The following parts of my essay have my own copyright in formulation of words, opinions and otherwise sources are mentioned.

The past couple of weeks I have followed the History of Healthcare course as an elective course to broaden my knowledge.
We had to give a presentation about a free chosen subject. I chose to give a presentation about the ‘Antiquity and the Olympics | Medicine in the pre Hippocratic Era’.
And as a final product I chose to write an essay about ‘Leprosy in the 12th and 21st century’.

For these blog posts I will divide my essay into four parts: ‘Introduction‘, ‘What is Leprosy?’, ‘Leprosy in the 12th century’, ‘Leprosy in the 21st century and a conclusion part’.

Greetings by Sophie

Introduction to leprosy

Leprosy exists already for centuries and it was not clearly known and investigated until the eleventh and twelfth century. During that century in the Middle Ages of Europe, leprosy took a jump in spreading of the contagious infection disease and isolating the infected persons from their environment. I have heard of leprosy for the first time when I was watching the film Ben Hur (1959) (Wyler, 1959). It touched me because why would people be banned from their homes, from their city?

At the history lessons in high school, leprosy was often explained as an aggressive disease that would cause the loss of limbs. And now and then it was entangled with the Black Plague. Following this course about the ‘History of Health Care’ I thought I should figure out what leprosy is in general and why it was such a special disease during the Middle Ages, and why it still exists nowadays.

With this essay and with this introduction and the provided index; I want to give a clear overview of the comparison between leprosy in the 12th century and leprosy in the 21st century. Through several little topics I discuss the information that is provided through lots of sources and many points of view. In the conclusion I will summarize again this comparison of the two centuries.

This essay is aimed for any human that is interested in learning a bit more about the still existing disease leprosy. It is also aimed for any student of any high school or college level, to have a general correct knowledge and recognition about this disease. It can happen to anyone and therefore it should be more aware among the ever-growing world population.

Written by Sophie van den Akker,

Rotterdam, January 2017

Figure 1: 'Jesus heals a leper' Copyright Wolfmueller.files.wordpress.com
Figure 1: ‘Jesus heals a leper’ Copyright Wolfmueller.files.wordpress.com
Bibliography
  • Wyler, W. (Director). (1959). Ben Hur [Motion Picture].