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Alfred Fröhlich

Born 1871
Died 1953

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Austrian neurologist and pharmacologist, born August 15, 1871, Vienna; died 1953.

Biography of Alfred Fröhlich

Alfred Fröhlich went to medical school in his native city and graduated from the University of Vienna in 1895. He then joined the department of the experimental professor Carl Wilhelm Hermann Nothnagel (1841-1905). He also worked with the neurologist Lothar von Frankl-Hochwart (1862-1914) and was affiliated to the Institute of Pathology with professor Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch (born 1837).

Fröhlich’s eponymic fame rests upon his description in 1901 of «a case of tumour of the hypophysis cerebri without acromegaly» with an emphasis on the obesity and infantilism associated with pituitary tumours. Many authors prefer the eponymic term Fröhlich’s syndrome over that of Babinski-Fröhlich, as they consider Fröhlich the first to describe its typical pattern. Babinski, however, described the disease one year prior to Fröhlich.

Fröhlich enjoyed a life-long friendship Harvey Williams Cushing (1869-1939), whom he met whilst working with Sir Charles Sherrington (1857-1952) in Liverpool in 1901. In 1905 Fröhlich joined the department of pharmacology at the University of Vienna, initially under the direction of Hans Horst Meyer (1853-1939) and then Ernst Peter Pick (1872–). With Otto Löwi (1873-1961) he investigated the pharmacology of cocaine and also examined the permeability of tissue and the effects of the pituitary on the autonomic nervous system. Besides his own laboratory, he spent time in marine laboratories in Naples and in Helgoland, Germany, as well as Woodshole, Massachusetts.

Fröhlich was habilitated for experimental pathology in 1906 and for pharmacology in 1908. He became extraordinary professor in 1912 and titular ordinarius in 1923. From 1919 to 1939 he was a full professor of pharmacology and toxicology, but following Hitler’s invasion of Austria, he migrated to the Unites States. He joined the May Institute of Medical Research of the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati. where he continued his experimental studies on the central nervous system.

Alfred Fröhlich was a music lover, himself an accomplished pianist, and a friend of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), whom he had met in Switzerland in 1908.

Fröhlich occasioned the 11th edition of E. Landemann’s Die Therapie an den Wiener Kliniken. Leipzig and Vienna, 1930.

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