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Samuel Vulfovitsj Goldflam

Born  1852
Died  1932

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Polish neurologist, born february 22, 1852, Warsaw; died August 26, 1932.

Biography of Samuel Vulfovitsj Goldflam

We thank Piotr Flatau for submitting material used in this entry.

Samuel Vulfovitsj Goldflam received his education in his native city of Warsaw. He graduated from high school in 1869 and then studied medicine at the University in Warsaw. He qualified in 1875 and then worked in internal medicine at the Holy Ghost Hospital under professor Wilhelm Dusan Lambl's (1824-1895), known for the giardia parasite now known as lamblia intestinalis. Lambl. However, was not much of e mentor, so Goldflam worked largely by himself. His position at the internal clinic supplied him an ample research material. At that time internal and neurology patients were together in Lamb’s clinic.

In 1882 he studied with the famous neurologists Karl Friedrich Otto Westphal (1833-1890) and Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) and then returned to Warsaw to teach neurology in the manner of the grand masters. After a new period in the Holy Ghost Hospital in Lambl’s clinic, he established his own clinic on Graniczna street for underprivileged patients.

During the First World War Goldflam worked as a volunteer in the Jewish Hospital with his great friend, the director, Edward Flatau (1869-1932). For a period they shared a house on Marszalkowska Street in Warsaw, until Goldflam moved out when Flatau married Helena Landau. During the war he was one of the first to notice correspondence between malnourishment and diseases and he documented bone and joints disease under the name osteoarthropathia dysalimentaria (1918). His main interest, however, was in the significance of reflexes, neurological aspects of syphilis and eye reflexes.

Goldflam was sharp clinicist with ability to recognize small clues of illness which often escaped attention his colleagues. He works not only with patients but also was an anathomopathologist. His profound observations and publications were recognized in Poland and in the world.

Goldflam established the Jewish Society for Mental Disorders and established the „Sophia” clinic for mental patients in Otwock, and Berson and Bauman Children’s Hospital in Warsaw. Together with Flatau he established the Pathology Scientific Institute and, also with Flatau, the medical periodical „Warszawskie Czasopismo Naukowe”, Goldflam was a full member of the Warsaw Scientific Society.

A genius in neurology, Goldflam was also an artist and an expert on Beethoven, and he helped many aspiring artists in establishing their career. He died in 1932, the same year as two other great neurologists, Edward Flatau (born 1869) and Joseph Jules François Félix Babinski (born 1857).


  • Über einen scheinbar heilbaren bulbärparalytischen Symptomen-complex mit Betheiligung der Extremitäten.
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für Nervenheilkunde, 1893, 4: 312-352.
    Myasthenia gravis pseudoparalytica, or Erb-Goldflam syndrome.
  • Die diagnostische Bedeutung des Rossolimoschen Reflexes.
    Abh Neurol, H. 56. Berlin, 1930.
  • On the Sounds in the Ear and Head.
    Monograph written with S. Meyerson.
  • Ueber eine eigenthümliche Form von periodischer, familiären, wahrscheinlich autointoxicatorischer Paralyse.
    Zeitschrift für klinische Medicin, 1891, 19, Supplement-Heft: 240-285.
  • Eufemiusz Józef Herman (1892-1985):
    Historia neurologii polskiej. Wroclaw 1975
    [The history of Polish neurology]
    (Monografie z dziejów nauki i technik ; tom 97)
    [Polish with English and Russian summaries].

We thank Rudolf Kleinert, Bad Reichenhall, Germany; and Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland, for information submitted.

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