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Who Discovered Muscular Dystrophy?

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Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne (de Boulogne) discovered Muscular Dystrophy. In fact, the original name of this disease was Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, named in his honor. He also discovered several other diseases such as Duchenne’s disease (Tabes dorsalis), Duchenne-Aran spinal muscular atrophy, Duchenne’s paralysis (Progressive bulbar palsy) and Duchenne-Erb paralysis.

Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand DuchenneDuring Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne’s time, neurology didn’t exist yet in France. Jean-Martin Charcot, often known as the father of neurology, would credit de Boulogne as his master.

Introduced a lot of new concepts

Duchenne de Boulogne, a French neurologist, was born on September 17th, 1806 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. He based his work primarily on the works of Luigi Aloisio Galvani, a famous Italian scientist and advanced the research to a great extent. Duchenne’s work has introduced a lot of new concepts in the field of neurology including the conductivity of neural pathways and the effects of lesions. He also introduced various modern diagnostics such as nerve conduction tests, deep tissue biopsy and clinical photography.

Introduced electrotherapeutics and electrophysiology

He attended a local college in Douai and later studied medicine. During 1827 to 1831, he worked under some famous physicians and neurologists of that time and he later on started to practice medicine. From 1835, he started to experiment with therapeutic “electropuncture”, a method in which electricity was used to stimulate muscle tissues. Although his methods were quite unorthodox, he was considered as one of the inventors of electrotherapeutics and electrophysiology.

His works are famous

He work included the famous “the Mechanism of Human Physiognomy”, which was a result of extensive research on how the muscles on a human face produces facial expressions. He published several works based on his findings and research. A lot of neurologists and scientists have been influenced by his work and have mentioned him in their research. For example, in his work “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals”, Charles Darwin mentioned the works published by Duchenne.

More on human muscle: Facts about the human muscular system.