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June 8, 1970

Sergei Sergeivich Korsakov (1853-1900) Korsakov's Psychosis

JAMA. 1970;212(10):1700. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170230102017

S. S. Korsakov, one of the great Russian psychiatrists, was born in Vladimir Province, known for its glass factory of which his father was an official.1 After studying medicine at the University of Moscow, Korsakov was appointed physician to the Preobrazhenskii Hospital and served for several years in the clinic for nervous diseases. In 1887, he presented a thesis on alcoholic paralysis for the MD degree; the following year he was advanced to privatdocent and in 1892 became superintendent and professor in the new university psychiatric clinic. Korsakov's reputation was enhanced by his comprehensive understanding of psychiatry as a general medical discipline, by the establishment of the concept of paranoia, by the gentle handling of mentally deranged patients, and by his textbook on psychiatry, the standard treatise for students for a generation.

The initial recognition of Korsakov's work in scientific circles was based largely upon the description in his