Multiple Sclerosis: The History of a Disease won a 2005 ForeWord Book of the Year Silver Medal!
The basic facts about multiple sclerosis are well known: it is the most common neurologic disease of young adults, usually beginning with episodic attacks of neurologic symptoms, then entering a progressive phase some years later. Its onset has an average age of 30, and occurs in about 1 in 500 individuals of European ancestry living primarily in temperate climates. There appears to be a complex interaction between a genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger that initiates the disease.
But these facts do not convey the impact of the disease on the people whose lives it affects. In this elegantly written and comprehensive history, we meet individuals who suffered with MS in the centuries before the disease had a name, including blessed Lidwina of Holland, who took joy from her misery, believing that she was sent to accept suffering for the sins of others; Augustus d'Est, grandson of George III and cousin of Queen Victoria, whose case shows how someone with access to the best of medical care of the age was understood and managed; and Heinrich Heine, the great German poet, who also had access to all medical services that were available, but who progressed into his mattress grave in two decades, aware of the loss of physical ability while still able to compose great poetry to the end.
From these early cases the author demonstrates how progress in diagnosing and managing multiple sclerosis has paralleled the development of medical science, from the early developments in modern studies of anatomy and pathology, to the framing of the disease in the nineteenth century, and eventually to modern diagnosis and treatment.
From beginning to end, Dr. Murray takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery, in the process showing how the evolution of our understanding of multiple sclerosis has been part of the greater history of medical knowledge.- return to top -
Reviews"Unlikely to be surpassed for some time, this engaging and scholarly book is a goldmine of previously inaccessible information."--Journal of the American Medical Association
"Murray has crafted a rich and detailed history of multiple sclerosis, replete with figures and wonderful quotations that form a tapestry of the events that have led to the current view that this condition is an autoimmune disease."--New England Journal of Medicine
"A fascinating and monumental work, a pleasure to read. The contents should be accessible to a wide audience, and provide an excellent understanding of multiple sclerosis, the history of neurology, and the philosophy of science... [the book] shows depth and breadth of understanding and a passion for the subject; moreover, the style of presentation makes it an easy and addictive read, enhanced by well annotated illustrations." -- Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
"With a light and erudite hand [Murray] shows how developments in knowledge about multiple sclerosis have mirrored developments in medical science...Murray's handling of detail is admirable, and helps make sense of this disease history." --The Lancet
"Murray is a well-published authority, and his history of the disease is clearly written and well documented...Heavily illustrated with photographs of practitioners who have contributed to MS research and treatment, neurological diagrams, and epidemiological maps...Recommended." -- Choice
"Jock Murray provides an excellent guide to how eminent physicians, scientists and patients have viewed multiple sclerosis down the years, both as an interesting disease and a personal affliction... With this monumental book, [he] has proved himself to be a teacher of the history of multiple sclerosis that sets a new standard [that] is unlikely to be surpassed..." -- Brain
"A 'must' for any serious health collection." -- The Bookwatch
"The narrative is highly readable, provides an outstanding overview of recent medical history and medical philosophy, and is enhanced by the author's viewpoint and clinical experience."--Mayo Clinic Proceedings - return to top -
T. Jock Murray, MDT. Jock Murray, MD is Professor of Medical Humanities at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and Director of the Dalhousie MS program. He has served as an officer in numerous Canadian and U.S. medical organizations. The recipient of many awards, including the Neilson Award from the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine for contributions to medical history, Dr. Murray is an outstanding teacher as well as clinician with an avid interest in the history of medicine. He was awarded the Canada 125th Anniversary Medal and has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Dr. Murray and his wife Janet have four children and five grandchildren. He has written more 200 medical books and articles.