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Claude François Lallemand

Born  1790
Died  1853

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French surgeon, born January 26, 1790, Metz; died July 23, 1853, Paris.

Biography of Claude François Lallemand

Claude François Lallemand began his medial career as a pupil at the military hospital in Metz and came to Spain as a military physician. Upon his return he went to Paris to study medicine and surgery and became prosector and intern under Guillaume Dupuytren (1777-1835). In these positions he performed autopsies and took advantage of the opportunities to conduct physiological studies of the brain. His dissertation on this topic earned him the medical doctorate in 1819. His thesis was on the role of pathology in the elucidation of physiological queries, and especially on the brain's physiology.

In the same year, due to fortunate circumstances, he was appointed professor Clinical Surgery at the Medical School of Montpellier, and was appointed head of the surgical ward of the Hôpital civil et militaire Saint-Éloi, besides Jacques Delpech (1772-1832)

From 1820 to 1834, following the example of Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682-1771), Lallemand, in the form of letters, published a series of clinical observations and pathological reports discussing the nature of infectious diseases of the meninges and of the brain. These books contain some of the most remarkable observations on infectious brain diseases at this time.

In 1823 he was deposed from his position because of clerical intrigue and had to leave Montpellier for a period. However, 10 month later he was rehabilitated by the Conseil royal de l'instruction publique in Paris. A paper published by him in 1824 deals with this suspension.

After Delpech was murdered by a female patient on October 28, 1832, Lallemand became the doyen of surgery in southern France. He was frequently consulted by Italians, Spaniards and Americans, sometimes for diseases of the brain, a field which had occupied him a great deal. One of his patients in Montpellier was Ibrahim Pasha (1789-1848), son of Mohammad Ali (1769-1849), pasha and
viceroy of Egypt. Ibrahim Pasha became viceroi of Egypt from 1848 – but ruled for only the last 40 days of his life.

Lallemand's inflammatory warnings about the dangers of spermatorrhoea, in Des pertes séminales involontaires, brought back to life the age-old belief that loss of sperm could be dangerous to health. This became a major medical concern throughout the Western world. Lallemand introduced circumcision as treatment for masturbation in boys and “spermatorrhoea” (involuntary loss of semen) in men. He suggested widespread circumcision of young boys as preventive of masturbation. His ideas were not taken up in Europe, but fell on fertile ground in Britain and USA.

Lallemand was elected member of the Paris Academy of Sciences in 1845.He then left Montpellier and lived in Paris, spending much of his time on philosophical studies, until his death in 1853.


  • Propositions de pathologie, tendant à éclairer plusieurs points de physiologie. Doctoral dissertation, 1819.
    2nd edition as: Observations pathologiques propres à éclairer etc., 1825.
  • Recherches anatomico-pathologiques sur l'encéphale et ses dépendances.
    Research letters.
    Volume 1 & 2, Paris: Baudouin fils et Béchet jeune; 1820-1823.
    Volume 1 & 2, Paris: Baudouin fils et Béchet jeune; 1824-1825.
    Letter 1 –9, 3 volumes, Paris 1820-1834. 3 Belgian reprints, Brussels, 1837. German translation by Karl Wekse, 2 parts, Leipzig, 1825.
  • De l'influence de l'inflammation aiguë sur la cohesion de tous les tissus.
    Annales Cliniques de la Société de Médecine Pratique de Montpellier, 1822.
  • Sur le ramollissement des tissus organiques considéré comme effet de l'inflammation.
    Journal universel des sciences médicales, 1822.
  • Observations sur les maladies des organes génito-urinaires.
    2 parts, Paris and Montpellier, 1825, 1827.
    German translation by A. W. Pestel, 2 parts, Leipzig 1825, 1828.
  • Réflexions sur le traitement des fistules vésico-vaginales, nouveau moyen etc.
    Archives générales de medecine, 1825.
    One of the first investighations on the healing of such conditions.
  • Remarques sur l'inflammation chronique du col de la vessie et l'incontinence d'urine chez les enfants.
    Archives générales de medecine, 1827.
  • Obs. sur une tumeur anévrysmale ayant son siège dans les artères du tibia etc.
    Répertoire général d'anatomie et de physiologie pathologique, Paris, 1826.
  • Clinique médico-chirurgicale, rec. et publ. par E. Verdier et A. Marcus.
    Montpellier, 1834.
  • Des pertes séminales involontaires.
    3 volumes, Paris, 1835-1845. 3 Belgian reprints, Brussels 1837, 1841. 2 German translations, by C. J. A. Venus in Weimar, 1837, 1841; and by C. A. Ofterdinger, Stuttgart, 1840, 1841.
  • Le hachych. Paris, Paulin, 1843.
    First published in under the pseydonym Germanos.
    It appeared under his real name in the 2nd and 3rd edition, 1847, 1848.
    Deuxième édition. Paris, au Comptoir des Imprimeurs-Unis, 1847.
    Lallemand, a republican socialist, wrote the first European work which used hashish as its basic plot device. It is a strange hybrid of the anarchic and the utopian, calling for an absolute social and intellectual revolution: 'Malgré ma chute, je reviendrai souvent au hachych'. The work purports to be a translation from an Arabic manuscript which the author has discovered in his cabin whilst sailing for Marseilles.
  • Clinique chirurgicale, rédigée par H. Kaula. 2 parts, Paris, 1845.
  • Éducation publique. 2 parts, Paris, 1848, 1852.
  • Claudio Luzzatti and Harry A. Whitaker:
    Jean-Baptiste Bouillaud, Claude-François Lallemand, and the Role of the Frontal Lobe : location and mislocation of language in the early 19th century.
    Archives of Neurology, 2001, 58: 1157-1162.

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