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Georges Marinesco

Born 1863-02-23
Died 1938-05-15

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Rumanian neurologist, born February 23, 1863, Bucharest; died May 15, 1938, Bucharest. Name also commonly spelled Gheorge Marinescu.

Biography of Georges Marinesco

Georges Marinesco received most of his medical education at the Brancovan hospital. He was preparator at the laboratory of histology, assistant at the bacteriological institute under Victor Babès (1854-1926), and with Babès already early published several works on myelitis transversa, hysterical muteness, dilation of the pupil in pneumonia, on «lésions des plaques terminales et motrices» etc.

After qualification, on the recommendation of Babès the government sent him to Paris to undertake postgraduate training in neurology under Charcot at the Salpêtrière, Paris, where he met Pierre Marie (1853-1940), Joseph Babinski (1857-1932) and Fulgence Raymond (1844-1910). He later worked with Carl Weigert (1845-1904) in Frankfurt and then with Emil du Bois-Raymond (1818-1896) in Berlin. On the assignment of Pierre Marie he lectured on the pathological anatomy of acromegaly at the Berlin International Congress in 1890. In 1891 he lectured on changes in the spinal marrow in cases of amputation in the society of psychiatrists.

After nine years abroad Marinesco in 1897 returned to Bucharest where he received his doctorate. At Bucharest a new professorial department of neurology had been created for him at the Pantélimon hospital. Shortly thereafter, in 1897, a chair of clinical neurology was created for him in the University of Bucharest, and he also worked in the Colentina Hospital. He remained in this post for the next 41 years and is regarded as the founder of Rumanian neurology.

Marinesco maintained close academic with his Parisian colleagues and many of his articles, which exceeded 250 in number, were published in the French language. He had a wide range of research interests, including pathological anatomy and experimental neuropathology. Daily contact with scores of the infirm and his astuteness made him put to use every one of the latest methods as they became available: the roentgen ray, with which he investigated bone changes in acromegaly, the film camera, for the study of body movements in health and disease

Early in his career he published with the bacteriologist Victor Babès (1854-1926) and the French pathologist Paul Oscar Blocq (1860-1896) a much needed atlas on the pathological histology of the nervous system. His description with Blocq of a case of parkinsonian tremor due to tumour in the substantia nigra, in 1893, was the basis for Édouard Brissaud’s (1852-1909) theory, announced the next year, that parkinsonism occurs as a consequence of damage to the substantia nigra. With Paul Blocq he was the first to describe senile plaques (1892) and with the Rumanian neurologist Jon Minea (1878-) confirmed Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) and Joseph Waldron Moore’s (1879-) discovery of treponema in the brain in general paresis in 1913.

Marinesco was an eminent teacher. In his lectures he emphasised ideas and gave perspective for further investigations. Recognition in the form of honours came to him from many countries. It was he above all others who was chosen to represent the students of Charcot when the centenary of the great master was celebrated.

Marinesco died suddenly in Bucharest on 15 May 1938 at the age of 74 years.

We thank Floriana Popescu for correcting an error.

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