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Eat Weight Disord. 1997 Sep;2(3):111-6.

Sir William Gull (1819-1890). Limner of anorexia nervosa and myxoedema. An historical essay and encomium.

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Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


On Friday, October 24, 1873, at a meeting of the Clinical Society of London, Sir William Gull achieved a coup de maitre by delivering two seminal reports. The first was called, "Anorexia Nervosa, (Apepsia Hysterica, Anorexia Hysterica)". The second was entitled, "On a Cretinoid State supervening in Adult Life in Women." The manuscript on anorexia was regarded by Gull's peers to be significant, but of lesser importance. The essay on hypothyroidism was generally regarded to be Gull's chef d'oeuvre. One hundred and twenty-four years later, the situation has reversed itself: the anorexia paper is heralded, while the other manuscript is all but forgotten. Gull's life, death and contributions will be reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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