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Jean-Alexandre Barré

Born 1880
Died 1967

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French neurologist, born May 25, 1880, Nantes; died April 26, 1967, Strasbourg.

Biography of Jean-Alexandre Barré

Jean Alexander Barré received his medical education in his native town. After graduation he came to Paris, becoming an intern with none less than Babinski. His doctoral thesis of 1912 was a continuation of Charcot’s work. At the outbreak of World War I he first served with the ambulances at the front, but later came to the neurological unit of the 6th army, headed by Guillain. They soon became friends and developed a lasting collaboration.

Barré was appointed professor of neurology in Strasbourg in 1919, aged 39. Like Guillain, he was a prolific writer, publishing more than 800 scientific papers. His particular interest was in vestibular function and disease, and he founded the Revue d’oto-neuro-ophtalmologie. Barré was a fine clinician, and meticulous in his examination. Many of the neurologists from France and other countries who trained with him became professors.

In his leisure time he enjoyed classical music, particularly by Verdi. His first wife, a competent pianist, died young. Both his daughters were educated in music.

In 1953, travelling home from a congress in Lisbon, Barré was struck with a cerebrovascular disaster with lasting hemiparesis. He was cared for by his second wife, but despite his disease, participated in scientific meetings. He died in Strasbourg in 1967.

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