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Jean Louis Prévost

Born  1838
Died  1927

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Swiss physician, born May 12, 1838, Geneva; died September 12, 1927.

Biography of Jean Louis Prévost

Jean Louis Prévost was the son of Guillaume Prévost (1799-1839). He studied at Zurich, Berlin, and Vienna, becoming an Interne in Paris in 1864 under Alfred Vulpian (1826-1887). Already in 1864, whilst still a student, he published a work on softening of the brain with Jules Cotard (1840-1887), independently a work on infantile paralysis and his thesis on the conjugated deviation in unilateral brain lesions, named Prévost's syndrome.

After receiving his doctorate in Paris in 1868, Prévost returned to his native city of Geneva. Here, in a laboratory maintained by himself, he worked with the English neurologist Augustus Volney Waller (1816-1870), and counted Joseph Jules Dejerine (1849-1917) and Paul Charles Dubois (1848-1918) among his pupils. In 1876 he was appointed professor of therapy at the newly founded Geneva faculty. Following the death of Moritz Schiff (1823-1896) he was appointed professor of physiology in 1897, holding this tenure until 1913.

Prévost introduced modern medical physiology to medical practice Geneva. His laboratory produced a large number of important works, most of which appeared in the annual Travaux du laboratoire de physiologie, Geneva. In 1881, with Constant-E. Picot (1844-1931) and Jacques-Louis Reverdin (1848-1929) he founded Revue médicale de la Suisse romande, Lausanne.

In the last years of his life he lost his eyesight. He died September 12, 1927 after a surgical intervention.

His homonym, Jean-Louis Prevost (1790-1850), was a cousin of his father.

Prévost published more than 60 books and articles and contributed to 10 doctoral degrees that were made under his guidance.

A list of his writings is in: Catalogue des ouvrages, articles et mémoires des professeurs etc. de l’Université de Genève; Geneva, 1896, 4: 322; 1909, 5: 208; 1916, 6: 177.

We thank Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland, for information submitted.


  • Etudes physiologiques et pathologiques sur le ramollissment cérébral.
    With Jules Cotard.
    Mémoire lu à la Société de Biologie dans le mois de décembre 1865.

  • Observation de paralysie infantile; lésions des muscles et de la moelle.
    Comptes rendus et Mémoires de la Société de Biologie 1865, 17:215-218

  • De la déviation conjugée des yeux et de la rotation de la tête dans certains cas d'hémiplégie. Medical thesis, Paris, 1868.


  • Georges de Morsier (1894-1982):
    Jean-Louis Prevost 1838-1927. Gesnerus, 1974, 31:19-38.

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