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Alfred Fabian Hess

Born  1875
Died  1933

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American physician, born October 19, 1875, New York; died 1933.

Biography of Alfred Fabian Hess

Alfred Fabian Hess graduated M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, in 1901 and trained at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He continued his studies in Prague, Vienna, and Berlin and in 1905 returned to the U.S. to practise. From 1915 he was professor of clinical paediatrics at University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York University.

He spent his mornings at the Rockefeller Institute and his afternoons at the Babies Hospital or at Bellevue.

With Weinstock, Hess was the first to recommend indirect radiation therapy against rachitis (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1924, 83: 1845).

Hess wrote on rickets and scurvy and showed that the missing factor in the latter was abundant in citrus fruits and tomatoes. He discovered that certain oils and foods became antirachitic on exposure to UV light and introduced treatment of rickets by use of sunlight and showed that rubella was caused by a virus. He wrote a book on both scurvy and rickets which contains interesting historical accounts of these disorders.


  • Gustav Pommer (1851-1935:
    Untersuchungen über Osteomalacie und Rachitis. Leipzig, F. C. W. Vogel, 1885.
    Hess considered this the foremost contribution to the subject during the 19th century. Alfred Fabian Hess:
  • German measles (rubella): an experimental study.
    The Archives of Internal Medicine, Chicago, 1914, 13: 913-916.
    Experimental proof that rubella is caused by a virus.
  • Scurvy, past and present.
    Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott, 1920. Includes a history and bibliography.
  • Rickets, including osteomalacia and tetany. Philadelphia, Lea & Febiger, 1929.
    Hess made numerous clinical observations on rickets and scurvy and discovered that antirachitic properties could be imparted to certain oils and to food by exposing them to ultra-violet rays. His book includes an important history and bibliography of the subject.

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