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Books, Journals, New Media
July 5, 2000


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 2000;284(1):99. doi:10.1001/jama.284.1.99

In The Mysteries Within Dr Sherwin Nuland recounts a "journey" through years of medical thought and innovation by describing various organs, including heart, uterus, stomach, liver, and spleen. Each account includes an anecdote of his surgical care of a patient and the evolution of beliefs and treatments over the centuries, from ancient times to the present.

Most of the clinical cases Nuland describes are from his residency or early years of practice. While some show innovation in their time, most are tried-and-true treatments still in existence today, eg, splenectomy. The author intertwines his philosophy of surgical and medical care and imparts it to the reader. Chapters begin with history lessons and end with the anecdote. His historical reach includes, but is not limited to, the ancient Hebrews, ancient Egypt, and the Renaissance. William Harvey is mentioned frequently.