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Albert von Bezold

Born  1836
Died  1868

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German physiologist, born January 7, 1836, Ansbach, Bavaria; died March 2, 1868, Würzburg, Bavaria.

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.


  • Untersuchungen über die elektrische Erregung der Nerven und Muskeln.
    Leipzig, 1861.
  • Untersuchungen über die Innervation des Herzens.
    2 parts in 1 volume, Leipzig, 1863.
  • Über die physiologischen Wirkungen des essigsäuren Veratrins.
    With Ludwig Hirt (1844-1907). In: Untersuchungen aus dem physiologischen Laboratorium in Würzburg. Leipzig, 1867, 1: 73-123. Memorial address by Friedrich von Recklinghausen in : Berichte der Physikalisch-Medizinischen Gesellschaft zu Würzburg, December, 1868.

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