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Neurology. 2002 May 14;58(9):1400-3.

Jules Cotard (1840-1889): his life and the unique syndrome which bears his name.

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Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.


Dr. Jules Cotard (1840-1889) was a Parisian neurologist who first described the délire des négations. Cotard's syndrome or Cotard's delusion comprises any one of a series of delusions ranging from the fixed and unshakable belief that one has lost organs, blood, or body parts to believing that one has lost one's soul or is dead. In its most profound form, the delusion takes the form of a professed belief that one does not exist. Encountered primarily in psychoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Cotard's syndrome has also been described in organic lesions of the nondominant temporoparietal cortex as well as in migraine. Cotard's delusion is the only self-certifiable syndrome of delusional psychosis. Jules Cotard, a Parisian neurologist and psychiatrist and former military surgeon, was one of the first to induce cerebral atrophy by the experimental embolization of cerebral arteries in animals and a pioneer in studies of the clinicopathologic correlates of cerebral atrophy secondary to perinatal and postnatal pathologic changes. He was the first to record that unilateral cerebral atrophy in infancy does not necessarily lead to aphasia and was also the pioneer of studies of altered conscious states in diabetic hyperglycemia.

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