François Joseph Victor Broussais

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Broussais, François Joseph Victor


Born Dec. 17, 1772, in St. Malo; died Nov. 17, 1838, in Vitry. French scientist and physician. Graduated from the Paris Medical School in 1802 and became a military doctor in Napoleon’s army. Professor in the military hospital of Val-de-Grâce from 1820; professor in the subdepartment of pathology and internal medicine of the Department of Medicine of the University of Paris from 1830. Member of the Academy of Medicine in Paris from 1832.

Broussais was the founder of the so-called physiological school. His views were linked to M. Bichat’s theory of the physiological irritability of tissues and to J. Brown’s theory of excitability, as well as to denial of the concept of specificity in pathology. He considered that any disease is above all an inflammation that arises because of irritation of tissues giving rise to the inflammatory process. Broussais related the origin of most diseases, especially fevers, to irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, particularly gastritis. Treatment, according to Broussais, should be aimed at controlling inflammation through the administration of relaxants and revulsive agents, especially bloodletting and use of leeches. Despite its mechanistic nature, Broussais’s theory contained the sound notion that environmental stimuli have a decisive influence on the body.


Cours de pathologie et de thérapeutique générales. Paris, 1834.


Men’e, L. Istoriia meditsiny. Moscow-Leningrad, 1926.
Lushnikov, A. G. Klinika vnutrennikh boleznei v Rossii. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.