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Louis Théophile Joseph Landouzy

Born 1845-03-27
Died 1917

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French physician, born March 27, 1845. Reims; died May 9/10, 1917, Paris.

Biography of Louis Théophile Joseph Landouzy

Louis Théophile Joseph Landouzy was the son and grandson of a physician. His father was a professor at the medical school in Reims. He commenced medical studies in Reims but in 1867 moved to Paris where he completed his studies and became hospital resident – interne des hôpitaux - in 1870. In Paris he came under the influence of Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893).

Landouzy obtained his doctorate in 1876 for a thesis on the sequel of meningo-encephalitis and subsequently published on a variety of neurological topics. He became chef de clinique with Alfred Hardy (1811-1893) at the faculty in 1877, and in 1879 médecin des hôpitaux, 1880 professeur agrégé.

He also reported the results of studies with Joseph Jules Dejerine on the muscular disorder that later bore their names. These men were close friends and Landouzy was a witness at Dejerine's wedding in 1888 to the latter's student, Augusta Klumpke (1859-1927). In 1890 he became physician at the Hôpital Laënnec

Landouzy was appointed professor of therapy in 1893 and dean of medicine of the University of Paris in 1901. He was an autocrat in a hierarchical system and functioned effectively as dean for 16 years. He had a brusque manner but was widely respected for his intellectual honesty. Landouzy died in 1917 at the age of 72 years, while still heading his faculty. He was a member of the Académie de médecine and the Institut de France.

Although Landouzy is chiefly remembered for his description of facio-scapulo-humeral muscular dystrophy, his main area of research was tuberculosis in which he had had a special interest, and he played a leading role in several international congresses concerned with this problem. His involvement in this field extended beyond clinical complications and treatment to epidemiology, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and the use of spas.

Landouzy demonstrated that lesions from erythema nodosum in patients with tuberculosis would produce the disease when injected into guinea pigs. In opposition to Léon Charles Albert Calmette (1863-1933) he championed the idea that laryngeal tuberculosis was due to direct surface infection. He was one of the foremost workers in recognising that tuberculosis was a social disease and campaigned vigorously for its eradication by education of the lay public.

Landouzy had a great facility in physical examination and expressed himself clearly, which made him an outstanding student teacher. He was interested in hands and disease, and made the comment concerning the little finger of a patient "tells his past, shows his temperament and foretells his future.” he coined the term camptodactyly to describe flexure contracture of the finger(s) at the proximal interphalangeal joint.

Landouzy was a keen supporter of spas, fond of travel, and appreciative of the visual arts as well as a keen collector of books. He died following surgery with uraemia.

Landouzy in 1876 published Charles Lailler’s (1822-1893)Leçons cliniques sur les teignes.

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