Biography of Jacques Forestier
Jacques Forestier was born to a medical family. His father was Henri Forestier, director of the therapy centre Aix-les-Bains in France, with traditions in physiotherapy and hydrotherapy dating centuries back. Having completed his medical studies in Paris, Forestier obtained a position at the Cochin Hospital, where his interest in rheumatology was aroused.
During World War I he was awarded a medal of honour because he, as a field physician, among other things took 150 enemy soldiers prisoners of war. In 1922 he married Adrienne Japuis - and together they got seven children.
In 1928 he succeeded his father at Aix-les-Bains. He was then a medical authority, to large degree due to his studies of Lipiodol. It was administered intramuscularly, and it was early observed that at the site of the injection X-ray dense changes of mucosa often occurred. Forestier concluded that this phenomenon might be used for diagnostical purposes. Guided by his teacher, Jean Athanase Siccard (1872-1929), Jacques demonstrated that the ingredient rendered an excellent X-ray contrast when administered to the spinal canal. Thus was laid the foundation for the technique of myelography.
The probably greatest professional disappointment in his career came when he attended the 7th international congress of rheumatology, in New York, 1949. Here Forestier was to present his experiences during twenty years in gold treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Jacques assumed that this presentation was to become one of the highlights of the congress. The all-important event of the congress, However, was the presentation of the effect of cortisone in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by Philip Showalter Hench (1896-1965), the 1950 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
Jacques Forestier was one of the founders of rheumatology in France. He also participated in the foundation of the national French society of rheumatology in 1928.