GUILLAUME BENJAMIN AMAND DUCHENNE (1806-1875), French physician, was born on the 17th of September 1806 at Boulogne, the son of a sea-captain. He was educated at Douai, and then studied medicine in Paris until the year 1831, when he returned to his native town to practise his profession. Two years later he first tried the effect of electro-puncture of the muscles on a patient under his care, and from this time on devoted himself more and more to the medical applications of electricity, thereby laying the foundation of the modern science of electro-therapeutics. In 1842 he removed to Paris for the sake of its wider clinical opportunities, and there he worked until his death over thirty years later. His greatest work, L' Electrisation localisee (1855), passed through three editions during his lifetime, though by many his Physiologie des mouvements (1867) is considered his masterpiece. He published over fifty volumes containing his researches on muscular and nervous diseases, and on the applications of electricity both for diagnostic purposes and for treatment. His name is especially connected with the first description of locomotor ataxy, progressive muscular atrophy, pseudo-hypertrophic paralysis, glosso-labio laryngeal paralysis and other nervous troubles. He died in Paris on the 17th of September 1875.
For a detailed life see Archives generales de medicine (December 1875), and for a complete list of his works the 3rd edition of L'Electrisation localisee (1872).
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