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Who was Jean-Martin Charcot?

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Jean-Martin Charcot's work greatly influenced the developing fields of neurology and psychology in the late nineteenth-century.

Jean-Martin Charcot was born in 1825 and by the time he died, 68 years later in 1893, he had tremendously impacted science and medicine. Today, Charcots name still remains in frequent use through eponyms for diseases and syndromes he described -- Charcots joint, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and Charcots disease (now known as ALS) are just a few examples of these. However, he also contributed to many other conditions such as Parkinson's disease and MS.

Charcot was a neurologist and professor of anatomy, and therefore most of his work has been done in these disciplines, however, while he has been dubbed the "father" of neurology in France he has also greatly influenced psychology. Indeed, his students included Sigmund Freud and Alfred Binet, both, of course well renowned psychologists.

Charcot was a man of vision who quickly ascended to high ranks at Salpêtrière Hospital in France, and spearheaded what was to be the first neurology department in the country. His insight into pathology and ability to convey his teachings charismatically, attracted scientists from all over the world who scripted every word for later translation into their native languages.

In 1877, during one of his lectures he said, in reference to his work at the hospital, "It seems
to me that the unusual number of those who have assembled here today is a convincing proof of the correctness of my belief when, 5 years ago, I ventured to maintain that this vast emporium of human suffering might one day become a seat of theoretical and clinical instruction, of uncontested utility."

I believe this particular quote exemplifies who Charcot was very effectively; articulate, visionary, and a professor in its truest form, who was at the forefront of understanding disease and who has forever changed medicine through its instruction.

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Jean-Martin Charcot's work greatly influenced the developing fields of neurology and psychology in the late nineteenth-century.
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