- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Charles Foix

Born  1882
Died  1927

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French internist and neurologist, born February 1, 1882, Salies-de-Béarn, département Basses-Pyrénées; died march 22, 1927.

Biography of Charles Foix

Charles Foix was born in Salies-de-Béarn, near Bayonne, in south-western France. The son of a physician, he studied medicine at the University of Paris and was a pupil of Pierre Marie (1853-1940) at the Salpêtrière. He was an intern in 1906, Médecin des hôpitaux in 1919 and became agrégé in 1923.

A most impressive teacher and clinician, Foix was almost as much at home with general medicine as he was with neurology, and during the ist World War was put in charge of a tuberculosis service. From 1921 he worked at a tuberculosis ward in the Bicêtre. When the time came for his inaugural lecture, he was given four hours in which to prepare a discourse on the splenic anaemias, and did so brilliantly. From 1923 he worked in the Hôpital Ivry.

Foix taught at Georges Charles Guillain’s (1876-1961) clinic at the Salpêtrière and at Emile Charles Achard’s (1860-1944) at the Hôpital Beaujon, always distinguishing himself by his wide knowledge and rational approach.

Foix’ main approach, using a vast material gathered at the Salpêtrière and Ivry, was to relate thrombosis of specific arteries at autopsies with symptoms and signs that he had established in his patients and he wrote a book on the blood supply and the anatomy of the brain. While lesions of vascular origin were Foix’s particular domain, he was also deeply interested in the most intricately constructed regions, the midbrain and interbrain. With Jean Nicolesco (1895-1957) he published an imposing treatise on the anatomy and blood supply of these regions in 1925

Foix was an accomplished poet, but even a better lyricist. He was of medium height, he let his hair grow in ringlets over the left side of his head, and would sweep the unruly locks away from his face when bending over a patient. Gentleness and kindness endeared him to his friends and students. Some of them imitated his brisk walk, his staccato speech, and his quick responses which, although they seemed superficial in others, were exact to the point in Foix.

We thank Dr. Günter Krämer, Zürich, Switzerland, for information submitted.


  • C. Foix:
    Les lésions anatomiques de la maladie de Parkinson.
    Revue neurologique, Paris, 1921, 28 593-600.
    Foix and his colleagues showed that the specific lesions in Parkinson’s disease is in the substantia nigra of the mid-brain.
  • Charles Foix and Jean Nicolesco, publishers:
    Anatomie cérébrale. Les moyens gris centraux et la région mesencephalo-sous-optique; suivi d’une appendice sur l’anatomie pathologique de la maladie de Parkinson.
    Paris, Masson, 1925. Biographical:
    Revue neurologique, Paris, 1927, 34: 441-446 (Gustave Roussy).
    Aesculape, Paris, 1927, 17: 243-251 (Jean Vinchon).

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