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May 10, 1965

JOHN BROWN (1735-1788)—FOUNDER OF THE BRUNONIAN SYSTEM OF MEDICINE

JAMA. 1965;192(6):569-570. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080190135033
Abstract

The brunonian theory of medicine, a mixture of good and bad concepts, was developed by John Brown during his suffering and convalescence from an attack of gouty arthritis. The new doctrine enjoyed its peak of popularity in the latter part of the 18th century but was not rejected finally until long after Brown's death. Meanwhile, it had generated much controversy and had gained converts and equally vehement antagonists. The University of Göttingen was one of the last strongholds of the cult, the disappointing and delusive theory having been shown by von Helmholtz to be contrary to the natural laws of chemistry and physics.

John was born of humble parents in the parish of Buncle in Berwickshire, Scotland. His father was a day-laborer and in religious devotion followed the teachings of the seceders, the Whigs of Scotland. Furthermore, he was determined that his son would receive a good religious education and

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