Biography of Henri-Alexandre Danlos
Henri-Alexandre Danlos spent his entire life in his native city of Paris. His father wished his son to enter a family business and his initial education was aimed in that direction, but he himself decided he wanted to do medicine and without his parents’ knowledge changed to a medical course. He qualified with distinction in 1869 and in 1874 presented his doctoral thesis which was entitled The Relationship between Menstruation and Skin Disease.
Danlos initially was most interested in laboratory work, retaining an early interest in chemistry and undertook research at the laboratory of Charles-Adolphe Wurtz (1817-1884) during the early phases of his career. In 1881, at the age of 37 years, he passed the examination for consultant status - médecin des hôpitaux - and got a well rounded clinical training working with Edmé Félix Alfred Vulpian (1826-1887).
In 1885, Danlos became chef de service at the Hôpital Tenon, where he spent five years, followed by 5 years in the public service. This was an unhappy period for Danlos as he suffered a prolonged an painful illness and became withdrawn and pessimistic. In 1895, at the age of 51 years, Danlos received an appointment at the Hôpital Saint Louis in Paris. He was active in general medicine and gained a reputation as a caring physician and excellent diagnostician but he was increasingly involved in the development of new therapeutic techniques in dermatology.
Danlos undertook numerous meticulous studies of the use of various preparations of arsenic and mercurials in the treatment of syphilis and other skin disorders, and was a pioneer in the use of radium to treat lupus erythematosus of the skin. With Eugene Bloch he was the first to place radium in contact with a tuberculous skin lesion.
Obituary: Bulletin de la Societé française de dermatologie et de syphiligraphie, Paris, 1912: 500.