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William Horatio Bates

Born 1860-12-23
Died 1931-07-10

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American physician, born December 23, 1860; died July 10, 1931.

Biography of William Horatio Bates

William Horatio Bates graduated A.B. from Cornell University in 1881 and received his medical degree at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1885. He appears to have suffered from a strange episode of amnesia or a strange form of aphasia. 1902 he disappeared, was found, and then disappeared again, only to reappear after his second wife, who searched in vain for him, had died. This episode was said to have given him a particular interest in memory, perhaps influencing the direction of his work. He was married three times, having been widowed twice. In 1928, he married his long-time personal assistant Emily C. Lierman.

Bates practiced ophthalmology and treated many patients, who claimed to have been cured of vision defects, especially myopia. This brought him into conflict with his peers. He defended himself by claiming that other physicians were in thrall to the establishment.

Bates also did other research. He discovered the astringent and haemostatic properties of the substance produced by the suprarenal gland, and its value in medicine, especially in surgeries. The substance would later be commercialized as adrenaline.

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