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Z Arztl Fortbild Qualitatssich. 1999 Apr;93 Suppl 1:5-10.

[Carl Adolph von Basedow--on the 200th anniversary of his birth].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung für Endokrinologie und Stoffwechselerkrankungen, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald.


Carl Adolph von Basedow was the son of an aristocratic family and was born 1799 in Dessau. He was the grandson of the famous pedagogue Johann Bernhard Basedow. He studied medicine at the university of Halle and spent two years in the surgical service of Paris hospitals--the Charité and the Hôtel Dieu. In 1822, he settled in Merseburg as a physician. He was soon acclaimed as a genial and skilled helper in all branches of medical practice. He performed his own post-mortem examinations and published findings on a number of different diseases. His famous contribution in the thyroid field appeared in 1840 entitled "Exophthalmos due to hypertrophy of the cellular tissue in the orbit". Exophthalmos, goiter and palpitation of the heart have become known as the Merseburg Triad. In 1848, he published the autopsy findings on a patient who died from "exophthalmic cachexia". In Germany and some other countries, the disease was named as Morbus Basedow since 1858. In 1854 he pricked in his finger in the postmortem room when examining a patient who had died of typhus and he succumbed to septicemia at the early age of fifty-five. The date of his death was April 11, 1854. On April 14, he was laid in the Sixtus Cemetery in Merseburg. Basedow postulated that a wrong mixing of the blood manifested in cell tissue congestion and glandular vegetation cause the manifestations of disease. If we abstract our modern knowledge and accept circulating antibodies and disturbance of the immune balance as a dyscrasia as well as the proliferation of lymphocytic clones and local cellulary infiltration in terms of immune thyroiditis and autoimmune orbitopathy as cell tissue congestion and glandular vegetations, then doubt arise whether we have indeed made much progress in the last 150 years. At least, respect for the genius of the general physician Carl Adolph von Basedow is becoming greater. We may all hope that in the contributions and the discussions, we shall learn where we stand at the end of the century and what new avenues of research are appearing on the horizon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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