December 2010 Newsletter: Theodore Kocher and His Nobel Prize

Monday, December 08, 2008
Theodore Kocher is known as the “father of thyroid surgery”. He was also the first surgeon to receive the Nobel Prize, which many have assumed was awarded for his having introduced the modern era of safe and effective thyroid surgery. This however was almost certainly not the case. Theodor Kocher (1841-1917) was appointed to the Chair of Surgery in Berne, Switzerland in 1872 ..Read More

December 2008 Newsletter: History of thyroid ultrasound

Monday, December 01, 2008
Thyroid and parathyroid ultrasound are now part of routine clinical practice, with endocrine surgeons and endocrinologists around the world being encouraged to incorporate clinician-performed ultrasound (CPU) as an extension of clinical examination. What is not commonly appreciated is that thyroid and parathyroid ultrasound, and the technological developments that led to their introduction int ..Read More

August 2008 Newsletter: History of goitre management

Friday, August 01, 2008
The German anatomist and surgeon, Lorenz Heister was born in Frankfurt in 1683 and appointed to the Chair in Surgery and Anatomy in Altdor. In his textbook “Chirurgie” we find some of the earliest descriptions of various medical and surgical approaches for the management of goitre. “In the case of a recent goitre the patient must be given a good diet and suitable sudorific and purgative drugs. ..Read More

April 2008 Newsletter: History of thyroid function

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
It is interesting to review historical attitudes towards the presumed function of endocrine organs prior to any real understanding of endocrine physiology or pathology. Much was supposition, based on either anatomical relationships or chemical analysis. The following is an extract from an early (1880) edition of Gray’s Anatomy in which the writer speculates on the possible function of the thyr ..Read More

August 2007 Newsletter: Remarkables in art

Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Orlo Clark delivered the Historical Lecture entitled “Remarkables: endocrine abnormalities in art” at the recent IAES meeting in Montreal during International Surgical Week and is shortly to publish his book of the same title. It is well known that artists often truly depict anatomical realities associated with disease, including those depicting endocrine disorders. In his lecture Orlo Clark e ..Read More

April 2007 Newsletter: Experimental thyroid surgery

Sunday, April 01, 2007
Our understanding of thyroid physiology is largely based upon the outcomes of experimental thyroid surgery in animals. Schiff (1859) first described the striking results of ablation of the thyroid in experimental animals but it was not until 1884 that the matter was put on a firm basis by the same observer. He then also showed that by means of homotransplants of the thyroid, the consequences o ..Read More

January 2007 Newsletter: Lugol’s Iodine

Monday, January 01, 2007
An invaluable adjunct in the pre-operative preparation of patients with Graves’ Disease, Lugol’s iodine markedly reduces both the size and vascularity of the gland – however that was not the intent of its creator. Jean Guillaume Auguste Lugol was born in 1786 at Montauban, France. He graduated MD Paris in 1812 and seven years later was appointed to the staff of the Hopital St Louis. His  ..Read More

September 2006 Newsletter: Conn’s tumours

Friday, September 01, 2006
Jerome Conn’s belief that adrenal adenomas are a common surgically correctable cause of “essential hypertension” may yet be proven correct. In 1954, two years after the discovery of aldosterone, Jerome Conn from Ann Arbor, Michigan, described the syndrome of primary aldosteronism. The first patient was a woman of 34 years who had intermittent tetany, paraesthesia, periodic muscular weakness an ..Read More

June 2006 Newsletter: Endoc-criminology

Thursday, June 01, 2006
Michael Bliss, historian from the University of Toronto, delivered an address at the recent AAES meeting in New York describing the interaction between Harvey Cushing, a surgeon, and the Endocrine Society which had just elected him one of its first presidents. Cushing was scathing about the budding specialty of endocrinology, regarding many of its members as charlatans who practiced “endo-crim ..Read More

March 2006 Newsletter: History of laryngoscopy

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Routine laryngoscopy is part of the pre-operative assessment for patients undergoing thyroid or parathyroid surgery and is, as such, an integral component of endocrine surgical practice. Indirect laryngoscopy however was actually invented by an opera singer. The laryngoscope was invented by the Spanish singer Manuel Garcia in order to allow him to inspect his own vocal cords during singing pra ..Read More

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