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Ottomar Rosenbach

Born 1851-01-04
Died 1907-03-20

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German physician, born January 4, 1851, Krappitz, Schlesien; died March 20, 1907, Berlin.

Biography of Ottomar Rosenbach

Ottomar Rosenbach was the son of a physician. He studied at the universities of Breslau and Berlin, being closely associated with Julius Friedrich Cohnheim (1839-1884) and Ludwig Traube (1818-1876). During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/1871 he partcipated as a volunteer in the siege of Paris

He received his doctorate in 1873, was approbiert in 1874, and subsequently worked until 1877 as assistant in the medical policlinic in Jena under Wilhelm Olivier Leube (1842-1922) and Carl Wilhelm Hermann Nothnagel (1841-1905).

In 1878 he bacame assistant in the Allerheiligen-Hospital (All Saints' Hospital) in Breslau, where he was habilitated, becoming physician-in-chief at the medical department of the Allerheiligen-Hospital. He was appointed ausserordentlicher professor in 1888. In 1893 he resigned from his position at the hospital, and in 1896 also from the university, moving to Berlin.

Rosenbach published on a large number of clinical experiments, as well as critical treatises on diagnostic, therapeutic, physiological and hygienic questions, as well as general pathology. He was noted for his scepticism towards many of the laboratory-based methods prevailing among pathologists and bacteriologists, wanting to replace these with what he called functional diagnostics, emphasizing energetic conditions. In accordance with this he described a number of phenomena based on their energetics. Among these symptom complexes was neurasthenia cordis vasomotoria, digestive reflex neurosis, pulsation of av aorta abdominalis, etc. He also attempted to find new views on the nervous system and the biomechanics of the circulation, in order to find a foundation for psychological treatment of functional nervous disease as well as for hygienic prophylaxis againt heart disease. Rosenbach's rejection of the bacterial theory and his emphasis on psychosomatic causes and featueres of disease made him a somewhat controversial figure in his day.

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