Albert von Bezold
Biography of Albert von Bezold
Albert von Bezold was the son of Johann Daniel Christoph von Bezold, physician and public health counsellor in Rothenburg and Ansbach. He attended the secondary school in Ansbach, then commenced his study of medicine in Munich in 1853. In 1854 he transferred to Würzburg, and already in 1856, while still a medical student, published on physiological-chemical themes.
In 1857 he went to Berlin complete to his studies and to devote himself entirely to physiology under the guidance of Emil Heinrich Du Bois-Reymond (1818-1896). From him Bezold learned to apply physical methods to the study of biological phenomena. In 1858 Du Bois-Reymond made him an assistant in his institute.
Bezold distinguished himself to such a degree that in 1859 he received a surprise appointment as professor in the newly erected chair of physiology in Jena at the age of 23 years, even before he had received his doctorate. Before assuming the post, he went to Würzburg to receive his doctorate with the dissertation "Über die gekreutzten Wirkungen des Rückenmarks".
In 1865 Bezold was invited as foundation professor of physiology at Würzburg. His brilliant three year career here ended with his premature death, but still he managed to make this a renowned centre for physiological research
Bezold's most important research was in the physiology of the nerves and muscles, as well as on the heart. At Würzburg he also made pharmacological investigations, especially on the effects of veratrine, atropine, and curare on the muscles, nerves, and the heart and the circulatory system.
His eponymic fame rests with his investigations of the physiology of the heart. His experiments with veratrine led to the discovery of an effect on the circulation that originated from the heart and was characterized by bradycardia and lowering of the blood pressure. In 1937 Adolf Jarisch re-examined this regulatory heart-circulation reflex and recognized its general significance.
Albert von Bezold died prematurely at the age of only thirty-two. His death was due to a mitral stenosis caused by rheumatic endocarditis which he contracted in 1854.