Charcot demonstrating hysteria, 1886

Charcot demonstrating hysteria, 1886

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Charcot demonstrating hysteria. Illustration of French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893, to the left of the patient) demonstrating a case of hysteria, in 1886 at the Salpetriere hospital in Paris. Charcot's careful clinical observations and autopsies enabled him to relate some diseases of the nervous system to specific lesions; for example the paralysis of polio with the destruction of motor cells in the spinal cord. Charcot was a leading figure in the Paris Medical School, and his pupils included Sigmund Freud who developed Charcot's special interest in hysteria. Gilles de la Tourette (1857-1904), identifier of Tourette syndrome, is at the front of the group at lower left. The patient is Blanche Wittman, who later worked as an assistant to the physicist Marie Curie. This scene was depicted in an 1887 painting by Pierre Andre A. Brouillet.

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