Brown-Séquard, Charles édouard

Brown-Séquard, Charles Édouard

(broun-sākär`, –sākwär`), 1817–94, physiologist, b. Mauritius, of French and American parents. He taught at Harvard (1864–68), practiced medicine in New York City (1873–78), and succeeded (1878) Claude Bernard at the Collège de France. He was known for his research on the functions of the sympathetic nervous system and the spinal cord; he also studied the physiological effects of the injection of genital gland extracts and of the application of heat to the cortex. His most important work was on internal secretions. He is considered a founder of endocrinology, especially organotherapy.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brown-Séquard, Charles édouard


Born Apr. 8, 1817, on the island of Mauritius; died Apr. 2, 1894, in Sceaux. French physiologist and neuropathologist. Received his education at the University of Paris. Worked several years in the United States and England. Corresponding member of the French Medical Academy from 1868. Professor at the Collège de France (Paris) from 1878.

Brown-Séquard’s main research dealt with the physiology and pathology of the central nervous system. He described an intersecting sensory pathway in the brain (Brown-Séquard’s tract) and studied the varied phenomena occurring in unilateral lesions of the spinal cord (Brown-Séquard’s paralysis). He wrote on the composition of blood and the function of the adrenals. In 1889 he reported on the “rejuvenating” effect on the body of extracts from animal testes, by which he sought to confirm his previously expounded theory concerning the internal secretion of organs. After injecting himself with these extracts, he noticed an improvement in his general condition and increased intellectual and sexual activity. Later on it was discovered that such activity is followed by a loss of physical strength and progressive infirmity.


Exposé des effets produits chez l’homme par des injections souscutanées d’un suc retiré des testicules d’animaux vivants ou venant de mourir. Paris, 1890.


Olmsted, J. M. D. Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard: A Nineteenth Century Neurologist and Endocrinologist. Baltimore, 1946.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.