Biography of Harry Angelman
Harry Angelman graduated in medicine from the University of Liverpool in 1938. He served with the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War II and spent some time with the military in India before he returned to civilian life in 1946. In 1950 he was appointed as consultant paediatrician at Warrington General Hospital, Lancashire. Angelman retired in 1976.
Harry Angelman relates the following regarding his discovery of this syndrome:
"The history of medicine is full of interesting stories about the discovery of illnesses. The saga of Angelman's Syndrome is one such story. It was purely by chance that nearly thirty years ago three handicapped children were admitted at various times to my children's ward in England. They had a variety of disabilities and although at first sight they seemed to be suffering from different conditions I felt that there was a common cause for their illness. The diagnosis was purely a clinical one because in spite of technical investigations, which today are more refined, I was unable to establish scientific proof that the three children all had the same handicap. In view of this I hesitated to write about them in the medical journals. However, when on holiday in Italy 1 happened to see an oil painting in the Castelvecchio museum in Verona called Boy with a Puppet. The boy's laughing face and the fact that my patients exhibited jerky movements gave me the idea of writing an article about the three children with a title of Puppet Children. It was not a name that pleased all parents but it served as a means of combining the three little patients into a single group. Later the name was changed to Angelman syndrome. This article was published in 1965 and after some initial interest lay almost forgotten until the early eighties."
Personal correspondence, 1991
The picture referred to is by Gian Francesco Caroto (1480-1555)