Polotebnov, Aleksei Gerasimovich
Born Jan. 25 (Feb. 6), 1838, in the village of Alekseevskoe, Skopin District, in what is now Riazan’ Oblast; died Dec. 30, 1907 (Jan. 12, 1908), in St. Petersburg. Russian physician. One of the founders of Russian dermatology.
In 1864, Polotebnov graduated from the St. Petersburg Medical and Surgical Academy, where he had studied under S. P. Botkin. From 1876 to 1894 he was a professor there and held the chair of skin diseases.
Polotebnov was the first to advance the theory that a skin disease should be regarded as a disease of the entire body and that the pathology of the disease should be studied within the context of the functional changes that occur. He established the importance of the nervous system in the development of dermatoses. He was one of the first to prove the significance of the climate, as well as the significance of hydrotherapy and electrotherapy, in treating dermatoses and established the therapeutic effect of mold fungus. Polotebnov theorized that the spread of venereal diseases was determined by social factors and proposed a number of preventive measures.
Polotebnov founded a school of dermatologists. Following his initiative, all Russian universities, beginning in 1884, established independent chairs of skin and venereal diseases.