Science and Medicine

Entry Category: Science and Medicine

Silverfish

aka: Bristletails
Silverfish are small, wingless insects in the order Zygentoma (formerly Thysanura). There are four families: Lepidotrichidae (single species), Lepismatidae (about 200 species), Maindroniidae (three species), and Nicoletiidae (about twenty species). In the late twentieth century, it was recognized that the two suborders were not sister taxa; therefore Thysanura was paraphyletic, and the two suborders were each elevated to the status of an independent monophyletic order, with Archaeognatha the sister taxon to the Dicondylia, including the Zygentoma (fishmoths, firebrats, and silverfish). A nicoletiid, Speleonycta ozarkensis, occurs in eight different cave systems in Arkansas in Benton and Newton counties and in Oklahoma in Adair, Cherokee, and Delaware counties. In concert with jumping bristletails (Order Microcoryphia), the predecessors of silverfish are considered the …

Slime Molds

Slime molds are among the more interesting yet relatively little known organisms found in Arkansas. They do not have a particularly attractive name, but some examples produce fruiting bodies that are miniature objects of considerable beauty. The organisms commonly referred to as slime molds actually belong to two different taxonomic groups—the myxomycetes and the dictyostelids. Members of both groups are common-to-abundant organisms in forests throughout Arkansas, but only the myxomycetes (also called plasmodial slime molds) can be observed directly in nature. As a result, the myxomycetes are by far the better known group, and to most people (including many biologists), they are the only “slime molds” of which they are aware. However, the dictyostelids (also known as cellular slime molds) …

Smallpox

Smallpox is an infectious disease characterized by the formation of a rash and blisters across the face and extremities. With an overall mortality rate of approximately thirty-five percent, it was one of the most feared diseases in the world before coordinated vaccination efforts resulted in the disease being eradicated in 1979. In Arkansas, smallpox greatly affected Native Americans and played a role in the creation of later public health initiatives. Smallpox was first introduced into North America by European explorers, who brought to the New World any number of diseases to which Native Americans had not previously been exposed. Some historians estimate that perhaps ninety percent of the indigenous population of the Americas may have been killed by diseases brought …

Smelts

aka: Osmerids
Smelts belong to the family Osmeridae and order Salmoniformes. There are seven genera and about eleven species. Fishes of the genus Osmerus, to which the rainbow smelt (O. mordax) belongs, include the following: a North Pacific and Arctic species, O. dentex; the European smelt (O. eperlanus) of the Eastern North Atlantic; and the landlocked pygmy smelt (O. spectrum) of eastern Canada and New England, which some authorities suggest is not a valid species. In general, smelts are north circumpolar in geographic distribution, and they occur in marine and freshwater habitats in Asia, Europe, and North America. They date to the Paleocene Epoch (over 55 million years ago). The closest relatives are galaxioid (Protacanthopterygiid) fishes, and the marine argentinoid fishes are …

Smith, Willis S.

Dr. Willis S. Smith was a regionally significant teacher, sheriff, farmer, doctor, and writer in early southwestern Arkansas. Willis Smith was born on August 10, 1810, in Todd County, Kentucky, a frontier community. He was the fifth of twelve children of Millington Smith and Barbara Barton Smith. He was the grandson and namesake of Revolutionary War soldier Willis S. Smith, who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Smith had little opportunity for an education, and he could barely read or write even at twenty years of age. He left his home in Johnson County, Illinois, for Rock Springs Theological Seminary in Rock Springs, Illinois, where he received sufficient education to become a teacher at the school himself. One …

Snake Fungal Disease

aka: Ophidiomycosis
Snake fungal disease (ophidiomycosis) is an emerging infectious disease of numerous species of snakes caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola within the family Onygenacea. Formerly, Ophidiomyces was classified as the Chrysoporium anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii species complex (CANV species complex), a group of fungi that are frequently associated with emerging infections in various groups of reptiles. However, recent phylogenetic analyses have demonstrated that CANV represents a species complex that also includes fungi of the genera Nannizziopsis and Paranannizziopsis and that Ophidiomyces is known to occur only on both colubrid and viperid snakes. It was first definitively identified in 2006 in a population of timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) in New Hampshire. However, although identification has not been conclusively proven because cultures …

Snodgrass, William Anderson

William Anderson Snodgrass was an instructor at the University of Arkansas Medical School (which later became the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). During World War I, he organized Hospital Unit T and served as a major in the United States Medical Department in England and France. William Snodgrass was born on March 17, 1874, to Andrew J. Snodgrass and Elmira F. Masterfield Snodgrass at Murray, Kentucky. When he was ten, his family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). After completing public school and his premedical courses, he entered the Medical School of the University of Arkansas. He graduated in 1896 and was employed as Little Rock’s city physician in 1898. In 1898, he married Lelia Phillips, and they had …

Society for the History of Medicine and Health Professions

The Society for the History of Medicine and the Health Professions was established as a support group for the Historical Research Center (HRC) of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Library in Little Rock (Pulaski County). It supports research into the history of the health sciences in Arkansas. The society was founded in September 1981 by an executive committee composed of Dr. Robert Watson (the first neurosurgeon in Arkansas and a member of the UAMS College of Medicine faculty) as chair, Marie Smith (wife of Dr. John McCollough Smith), Dr. Horace Marvin (UAMS College of Medicine associate dean for academic affairs), Paul Harris (executive director of the Pulaski County Medical Society), and Edwina Walls (head of the HRC). …

Southall, James Henry

James Henry Southall was a founding member of the Medical Department of Arkansas Industrial University, the precursor to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Southall was born on November 5, 1841, in Smithville, Virginia, the son and grandson of distinguished Virginia physicians. After the completion of his education and the interruptions of life caused by the Civil War, Southall moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) at a time when the local medical community was beginning to consider forming a medical school in the state. As with many physicians of his era, Southall had begun his medical education by reading medicine under the tutelage of a professional, Dr. Robert Tunstall of Norfolk, Virginia. He attended medical school at the …

Southern Cavefish

aka: Typhlichthys subterraneus
The southern cavefish (Typhlichthys subterraneus) is one of the two species of blind cave fishes found in Arkansas. The other is the Ozark cavefish. The southern cavefish is found in the subterranean waters of two major non-overlapping ranges separated by the Mississippi River: in the Ozark Plateau of central and southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas and in the Cumberland and Interior Low plateaus of northwest Alabama, northwest Georgia, central Tennessee, and Kentucky. They are usually found at considerable depths (mostly between 175 and 240 meters below the land surface). This species, which can grow as long as ninety millimeters, has a large, broad head. The caudal fin has from zero to two rows of sensory papillae (one on the upper …

Sparks Regional Medical Center

Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), founded in 1887, was Arkansas’s first hospital. As of 2009, it serves a population of more than 350,000 in the surrounding eleven-county area and offers a full range of medical specialties and advanced diagnostic facilities, together with the newest technology, expert medical care, and clinical research. The hospital got its start following an accident at the railroad yard in Fort Smith, in which a stranger named Gerhardt was injured. He was taken to a boarding house and left. The rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Reverend George Degen, found him in a worsened condition with no one to care for him. He subsequently collected $500 from merchants along Garrison Avenue, …

Speckled Pocketbook

aka: Lampsilis streckeri
The speckled pocketbook is a bivalve mollusk belonging to the family Unionidae, commonly referred to as freshwater mussels, naiads, or clams. Each freshwater mussel is composed to two halves (valves) of a hard outer shell with the living animal (soft tissues) residing securely inside. The speckled pocketbook, scientific name Lampsilis streckeri, was described as a species new to science in 1927 by Lorraine Screven Frierson, a naturalist and landowner/merchant/planter residing south of Shreveport in the company town of Frierson, Louisiana. Frierson named the species in honor of his friend, colleague, and fellow naturalist John K. Strecker of Waco, Texas. Adults may reach a length of slightly more than 3.5 inches (or more than 90 millimeters), with a maximum life expectancy …

Sponges

The phylum Porifera, which contains the sponges, is a highly successful group of metazoan animals that includes about 8,600 living species of marine and freshwater forms as well as some that inhabit brackish waters. The majority are marine, but there are about 150 species of freshwater sponges, including twenty-seven to thirty species found in North America north of Mexico. The family Spongillidae is the most speciose and widespread group of freshwater sponges and includes twenty-two genera and more than 130 species from a wide variety of habitats. Seven species of freshwater sponges have been documented in Arkansas. Sponges are an ancient group of asymmetrical invertebrates with a fossil record preceding the early Cambrian period (541 million years ago), and even …

St. Anthony’s Hospital

With a view of the Arkansas River to the south and mountains to the southwest, St. Anthony’s Hospital in Morrilton (Conway County) is an imposing three-story Art Deco–inspired structure made of brick and stone. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 1986. The Benedictine sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery established St. Anthony’s Hospital as a fourteen-bed facility on December 4, 1925, initially using a private home belonging to the Burrows family of Morrilton. During the following twelve years, they moved twice, first to a Harding College dormitory (when that school, now Harding University, was located in Morrilton), then to the Jones Hospital building on N. West Street. (Jones Hospital had opened in 1920.) The …

St. Bernards Healthcare

St. Bernards Healthcare, based in Jonesboro (Craighead County), was founded by the Olivetan Benedictine sisters at Holy Angels Convent and is the largest employer in northeast Arkansas, with more than 2,200 employees. Its mission remains: “To provide Christ-like care to the community through education, treatment and health services.” Like many contemporary healthcare institutions, St. Bernards was begun in response to a crisis—a malaria fever epidemic that raged throughout northeast Arkansas in 1899. Civic leaders realized that the events of the 1890s had highlighted the need for a hospital, and as the twentieth century dawned, the idea was gaining momentum. A first challenge, and one that would be ongoing throughout the century, was to raise money necessary for a hospital. The …

St. Joseph’s Home

aka: St. Joseph Center
St. Joseph’s Home sits on a summit overlooking North Little Rock (Pulaski County) and offers picturesque views of the Arkansas River and Pinnacle Mountain. Since 1910, the home has been a source of refuge for many Arkansans, children and elderly, as well as U.S. Army officers of World War I. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 4, 1976. Now called St. Joseph Center, it is home to a non-profit organization that offers urban farming opportunities. The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock, under the directive of Bishop John Baptist Morris, built St. Joseph’s Home. On July 1, 1907, Morris purchased a 720-acre farm, which at the time, was about four miles north of what is now …

St. Vincent Hot Springs

aka: St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center
aka: Mercy Hot Springs
aka: CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs
Founded as St. Joseph’s Infirmary, St. Vincent Hot Springs is the second-oldest hospital in Arkansas, serving the medical needs of Hot Springs (Garland County) and its surrounding communities since 1888. St. Vincent Hot Springs is a 282-bed, acute-care hospital located on Werner Street in Hot Springs. In the 1880s, the Reverend Patrick McGowan, who settled in Hot Springs after retiring, asked Hot Springs physician Dr. J. M. Keller to buy a suitable building and its surrounding property for a hospital. In 1888, Mother Aloysius Burke and Sister Mary Clare, two Sisters of Mercy, came to Hot Springs from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to prepare the thirty-bed hospital, St. Joseph’s Infirmary, for its grand opening. The hospital opened to Hot Spring residents …

St. Vincent Infirmary

aka: CHI St. Vincent
The Charity Hospital, founded in 1888, evolved into today’s St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Charity Hospital was Arkansas’s first Catholic hospital, and St. Vincent remains the state’s oldest continuously operating hospital. What became known as CHI St. Vincent Health System, an affiliate of Catholic Health Initiatives, continues to emphasize the healing mission of the Catholic Church through its focus on the values of reverence, integrity, compassion, and excellence. The 1882 will of Alexander Hager, a wealthy Little Rock resident, promised to provide funding for hospital service in Little Rock if God spared the city from the yellow fever outbreak that was tearing through the South. When the outbreak passed over Little Rock, Hager’s will …

Stern’s Medlar

aka: Crataegus × Canescens
aka: Mespilus canescens
Stern’s medlar (Mespilus canescens or Crataegus × canescens) is a rare shrub in the rose family known in the wild from about twenty-five individual plants at a single site near Slovak (Prairie County). It was first discovered in 1969 by Jane Stern but was not named until 1990, when it was formally described (as Mespilus canescens) by Dr. James Phipps of the University of Western Ontario. Its origin, taxonomic placement, and proper scientific name are a matter of debate among botanists and represent one of the most curious and persistent mysteries in North American botany. Stern’s medlar is a showy species with a number of desirable ornamental properties including dense groupings of quarter-sized white flowers, multiple trunks, arching branches, patchy …

Stobaugh, Robert Blair

Robert Blair Stobaugh was an authority on energy, international business, and corporate governance who served as a professor in the Harvard Business School. His 1979 book Energy Future: The Report of the Energy Project led to significant initiatives in energy policy by the Carter administration and became a New York Times bestseller. His article “The Bent Measuring Stick of the Multinational Enterprise” was voted one of the twenty best articles ever published on international business. A federal judge once referred to him as “one of the nation’s foremost experts on corporate governance,” and was quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal several times. Robert Stobaugh was born on October 15, 1927, in McGehee (Desha County) to Robert …

Stoneflies

Stoneflies (Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Plecoptera) are a group of aquatic insects well known to fishermen and biologists worldwide. The name Plecoptera means “braided-wings” from the Ancient Greek plekein and pteryx, which refers to “wing.” The name refers to the complex venation of their two pairs of wings, which are membranous and fold flat over their body. Generally, stoneflies are not strong fliers, and several species are entirely wingless. Stoneflies are called “indicator species” because finding them in freshwater environments generally indicates relatively good water quality, as they are quite intolerant of aquatic pollution. They are also prized and imitated by anglers as artificial tied-flies in trout fishing, particularly on Arkansas rivers such as the Eleven Point, Spring, and …

Strepsiptera

aka: Twisted Wing Parasites
aka: The Stylops
The order Strepsiptera, or twisted wing parasites, belongs to the class Insecta, phylum Arthropoda. It is a very small, cosmopolitan order of bizarre parasitoids containing about 624 named species of minute endopterygote insects with nine extant families. They parasitize thirty-four families and several orders of Insecta, including Blattodea (cockroaches), Diptera (flies), Homoptera (leafhoppers), Mantodea (mantises), Hemiptera (true bugs), Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Zygentoma (silverfish and firebrats), and Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps). Three species of strepsiptera (halictophagids) have been reported from Arkansas hosts (all leafhoppers, Cicadellidae). Strepsiptera have two major groups: the Stylopidia and Mengenillidia. The former, which has endoparasitic females with multiple genital openings, includes seven families: the Bohartillidae (one extant and two fossil species), Corioxenidae (forty-six extant and …

Striped Bark Scorpions

aka: Centruroides vittatus
The striped bark scorpion, Centruroides vittatus, is the only scorpion species recorded from Arkansas, where it is most abundant in the western part of the state. It is the most widely distributed scorpion species in the United States, having been recorded from Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana west to eastern Colorado and New Mexico and south to northeastern Mexico. The front body region, which bears the yellowish-brown pedipalps (pincers) and legs below, has a somewhat triangular median dark spot on top pointing backward and extending beyond the eyes. The wide body region that follows has a distinctive pair of broad, dark, longitudinal bands on top. The slender tail-like postabdomen is uniformly yellowish brown, except for the tip of the stinger, which …

Sturgeons

Sturgeons (primitive Acipenseriform) are an ancient group of fishes dating back to the Triassic Period some 245 to 208 million years ago. True sturgeons appear in the fossil record during the Upper Cretaceous (101 to 66 million years ago). There are about twenty-five species of sturgeons, and all belong to the Family Acipenseridae, Order Acipenseriformes. Sturgeons can be found in subtropical, temperate, and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes, and coastlines of North America, with the greatest diversity in Eurasia. In North America, there are eight species that range along the Atlantic Coast from the Gulf of Mexico to Newfoundland, as well as along the West Coast in major rivers from California and Idaho to British Columbia, Canada. The family contains four genera …

Suckers

aka: Catostomid Fishes
Suckers belong to the Family Catostomidae, Order Cypriniformes, and Class Actinopterygii. There are about seventy-two species and thirteen extant genera of these benthic (bottom-dwelling) freshwater fishes. In Arkansas, there are eighteen species in eight genera. Suckers are Holarctic in distribution and primarily native to North America north of Mexico, but the longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus) occurs in both North America and northeastern Siberia from Alaska, and the Asiatic Sucker (Myxocyprinus asiaticus) is found in the Yangtze River basin in China. Sucker-like fossils are known from Eocene epoch (56 to 33.9 million years ago) deposits from central Asia, and the fossil genus Amyzon, with Ictiobus and Myxocyprinus affinities, occurs in middle Eocene and Oligocene Epoch (33.9 to 23 million years ago) …

Supreme Royal Circle of Friends of the World

aka: Royal Circle of Friends
The Supreme Royal Circle of Friends of the World, also known as the Royal Circle of Friends (RCF), was an African-American fraternal organization founded in 1909 in Helena (Phillips County). The organization was founded to supply insurance to the African-American population but was also dedicated to the moral, physical, social, and economic welfare of its members. Men and women were equal members. From the beginning, the RCF grew rapidly across the Southern states and soon spread across the nation. In 1944, the membership was quoted by a Chicago, Illinois, newspaper as being in excess of 100,000. Dr. Richard A. Williams was the founding Supreme President and held that position until his death in 1944. Williams was born in Forrest City …

Symphylans

aka: Glasshouse Symphylans
aka: Garden Centipedes
aka: Pseudocentipedes
Symphylans belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Labiata, Superclass Myriapoda, and Class Symphyla. About 200 species of symphylans are known worldwide, predominantly in the tropics. There are two families: Scutigerellidae with five genera and about 128 species, and Scolopendrellidae containing nine genera and approximately seventy-three species. There are few reports of symphylans in Arkansas, aside from a new endemic scutigerellid species described in 1992 in Polk County. Many taxa are yet to be discovered and described in the state. The fossil record of symphylans is poorly known; only five species have been recorded, all placed within living genera. They are ancestral arthropods dating back to the early Silurian approximately 430 million years ago, although the only fossil symphylans are known …

Tarantulas

Tarantulas are the largest spiders in Arkansas and are among the most recognizable. Tarantulas are relative newcomers to Arkansas, having arrived in the state about 8,000 years ago. At that time, the climate of North America was much warmer and drier than it is today. Because of higher temperatures and lower amounts of rainfall, habitats more typical of the southwestern United States and the Great Plains expanded eastward into Arkansas and Missouri. Along with drier habitats came many of the animals associated with them, such as tarantulas and scorpions. As the climate became cooler and wetter about 4,000 years ago, these species did not retreat west. Instead, they became isolated within suitable patches of open, dry habitat surrounded by increasing …