Biography of Jean Nageotte
Jean Nageotte studied medicine first in Besançon and then completed his studies in Paris, where he became interne des hôpitaux in 1889. He obtained his medical doctorate at Paris in 1893 and in 1898 was appointed to the Hôpital Bicêtre.
In 1912 he was appointed to the Salpêtrière, succeeding Louis Antoine Ranvier (1835-1922), in what then became the chair of comparative histology at the Collège de France. He remained faithful to the Salpêtrière, where he was given the opportunity to conduct his research.
Nageotte's preferred field of research was in the anatomy of the nervous system, and he also emphasised the importance of microscopic anatomy. He made intensive study on nerve fibres, anatomic and degenerative in nature. He did considerable research on the myelin sheath both clinically and chemical, as well as considerable work on connective tissue. His doctoral thesis and some later contributions dealt with tabes dorsalis.
Nageotte was a devoted clinician as well as an investigator, and greatly valued the assistance and council of his wife, a prominent paediatrician who became president of the Société de Pédiatrie. Following an accident in 1923 he was left paralysed and gradually became deaf. He retired from his chair at the Collège de France in 1937.
During World War II his wife died, one of his daughters was imprisoned, and his son-in-law was deported by the Germans. However, he lived to see his country liberated. Nageotte was a talented and cultured devotee of classical literature. He died in 1948.
Together with Joseph Babinski he described "their" syndrome in 1902, and together they wrote a book on the cerebro spinal fluid.