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May 2017

Of Wine Stains and Vases—William Allen Sturge’s Diverse Legacy

Author Affiliations
  • 1Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark
  • 2University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(5):426. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.0724

William Allen Sturge was born in 1850 in Bristol, England, the son of a wealthy Quaker land purveyor. Although he entered Bristol Medical School at the age of 18 years, Sturge became ill from diphtheria and rheumatic fever, which interrupted his studies. He was able to complete medical school at the University College Hospital in London in 1875, after 7 years.1 Sturge thereafter served as registrar at the National Hospital for Paralysis and Epilepsy, where he kindled an in-depth understanding of neurological disease. He continued his graduate studies under Jean-Martin Charcot, who is widely regarded as the father of neurology, and Jean Alfred Fournier, both of whom regarded Sturge as an acutely observational and original student.2 His training paved the way for his most notable discovery, which was characterizing the etiology of encephalotrigeminal angiomatosis, or Sturge-Weber syndrome.