Multiple Sclerosis

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Sample Chapter: Chapter 1

Multiple Sclerosis

The History of a Disease


T. Jock Murray

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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."

Product Details

  • Publication Date December 01, 2004
  • Page Count 580
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9781888799804

About The Author(s)

Dr. T. Jock Murray MD

T. Jock Murray, MD, is Professor of Medical Humanities at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and Director of the Dalhousie multiple sclerosis (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.

Table of Contents

"Foreword by Professor WI McDonald
Terminology and Disease Description
The Framing of Multiple Sclerosis
The Palsy Without a Name: Suffering with Paraplegia 1395-1868
The Steps Towards a Recovery: The Early Medical Reports
The Building Blocks of a Discovery
The Contribution of J.M. Charcot 1868
The Medical Reports After Charcot
Clarifying The Pathology: James Dawson
The Journal of A Disappointed Man
Experimentation, Meetings, Reviews and Symposia, 1920-1960
Searching for a Cause of MS
Classifying and Measuring MS
The Nature of the MS Plaque
Searching for Therapy
MS and the Public: Societies
Narratives and the Media
A Chronology of Events in the History of MS