- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Georges Charles Guillain

Born  1876
Died  1961

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French neurologist, born March 3, 1876, Rouen; died June 29, 1961, Paris.

Biography of Georges Charles Guillain

Georges Charles Guillain was born to a bourgeous family. His father Louis was an engineer, his mother Gabrielle the daughter of a wealthy owner of a spinnery in the Normandy town. After customary schooling he commenced the study of medicine in his native town, but after two years moved to Paris, where he received his clinical education at several hospitals. He soon became interested in neurology, and his first scientific work, of 1898, concerns lesions of the plexus brachialis. He received his medical doctorate at Paris in 1902.

In 1909 Guillain married Juliette Chauffard, the marriage producing five girls. Very little is known about Guillain’s private life, as it seems that he devoted his life to his professional work.

He became chef de clinique for nervous diseases and was habilitated in 1910. After the war he served at the Hôpital Charité until his career was crowned with the professorship of neurology at the famous Hôpital de la Salpêtrière in Paris in 1923. He held this position until his retirement in 1947.

Guillain was a busy writer. In 1920, with his friend Barré, he published a large work on clinical experiences during the war.

Guillain received many honours. He was a member of French, American, and Japanese academies of science. In 1949 he was appointed commander of the Legion of Honour.


  • La forme spasmodique de la syringomyélie. La névrite ascendante et la traumatisme dans l’étiologie de la syringomyélie.
    Doctoral thesis, Paris, 1902.
  • Traveux neurologiques de guerre.
    With Jean-Alexandre Barré. Paris, 1920.
  • Ètudes neurologiques. 1923.
  • La Salpêtrière. With P. Mathieu. Paris, 1925.
  • Anatomie topographique du système nerveux central.
    With Bertrand. Paris, 1926.
  • Techniuque de la réaction du benjoin colloïdal.
    Paris, 1926.
  • Études neurologiques.
    Written with Théodore Alajouanine. 4. sér., paris, 1930.
  • J. M. Charcot, his life, his work. Biographical:
  • Isidor Fischer, publisher:
    Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte der letzten fünfzig Jahre.
    Berlin – Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1932.
  • Pierre Mollaret (born 1898):
    Nécrologie. Georges Guillain (1876-1961).
    Presse Médicale, 1961, 69: 1696-1706.
  • M. Bonduelle:
    Notices biographiques. Georges Guillain (1876-1961).
    Revue neurologique, Paris, 1977, 133: 661-671.
  • Barry G. Firkin and Judith A. Whitworth:
    Georges Guillain.
    In their: Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. The Parthenon Publishing Group. 1989.
    New edition in 2002.
  • Magnus Carlsson:
    Männen bakom Guillain-Barrés syndrom. Mangåriga vänner efter samarbete i felt.
    Läkartidningen, Stockholm, 1997, 94 (36): 3032-3037.
    In the series: Mannen bakom syndromet [The Man Behind the Syndrome].

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