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April 1988

Charcot, the Clinician: The 'Tuesday Lessons,'

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

Arch Neurol. 1988;45(4):369. doi:10.1001/archneur.1988.00520280011002

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The singular contributions of J. M. Charcot during the 19th century remain a prominent part of our present neurologic heritage. The "Tuesday Lessons" he offered at the Salpêtrière were specifically prepared for medical students. Many physicians, however, from Europe and abroad attended these outstanding clinical demonstrations. Charcot sought to establish the clinical stereotype or "archetype" of an illness for his audience, and then would proceed to consider its varieties or formes frustes. In these patient-oriented discussions the interview stressed the importance of history taking. The clinical findings, their synthesis, and what was known about the associated morbid anatomy were discussed. The relevance of neurologic illness to systemic disease was emphasized. Laboratory tests that, at times, dominate the present practice of medicine were virtually nonexistent.

Christopher Goetz in a most interesting, reflective, and scholarly manner has translated portions of nine of the "Tuesday Lessons" offered in 1887-1888. The case studies include

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