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April 15, 1998

The 16th-Century Observations of Pieter Pauw: Balancing Humors and Councils—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(15):1173-1174. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-15-jbk0415

In Reply.—The highest reward for an essayist is that a piece of writing that emanated from his or her quill attracts attention. We were thus thrilled to receive 2 scholarly remarks regarding our article on an old Dutch autopsy report of a cystic tumor in the chiasmal region that had caused blindness and diabetes insipidus.

Dr Dirckx draws our attention to the Greek adverb anarrhopos, which Pauw used when trying to find an explanation for his observations. As Dirckx notes, in Greek writings anarrhopia referred to a tendency of a humor to rise within the body. We fully concur with his interpretation that Pauw thought that, due to an abnormality of the kidneys, fluid had regurgitated back up to the head. After all, this was what Pauw explicitly wrote in his Observationes .1