Horner’s Syndrome – A Medical Discovery From the American Civil War

Unequally sized pupils in mix with a drooping eyelid on the side of the scaled-down pupil and reduced sweating on the exact same side of the deal with is recognised as Horner’s syndrome, named for Johann Friedrich Horner, a Swiss ophthalmologist who wrote up a situation in 1869. When existing, Horner’s syndrome implies interruption of … Continue reading “Horner’s Syndrome – A Medical Discovery From the American Civil War”

Unequally sized pupils in mix with a drooping eyelid on the side of the scaled-down pupil and reduced sweating on the exact same side of the deal with is recognised as Horner’s syndrome, named for Johann Friedrich Horner, a Swiss ophthalmologist who wrote up a situation in 1869. When existing, Horner’s syndrome implies interruption of the sympathetic anxious procedure on that side of the system and is nevertheless a valuable resource in fashionable analysis.

The sympathetic anxious procedure allows govern numerous capabilities outside the house mindful command, like pulse, blood force, sweating, etcetera. The portion of the sympathetic pathway influencing the eyes and deal with follows a convoluted pathway that starts in the brain and flows down by the brainstem to the spinal twine. At the foundation of the neck, the pathway passes outward from the spinal twine and by the top rated of the lung. From there it rises by the neck yet again and into the head the place it last but not least reaches the eye and deal with. A pair of if not similar sympathetic pathways serves every side of the head.

Although Horner’s observations have been valid and the syndrome has been recognised by his identify ever since, he was not the initial to recognize this affliction. Instead, an American health practitioner by the identify of William Eager initial identified a situation of “Horner’s syndrome” in an hurt Union soldier through the American Civil War. The soldier, Edward Mooney, had been shot by the proper side of his neck at the battle of Chancellorsville.

In 1864, along with fellow doctors, Silas Weir Mitchell and George Morehouse, Eager published a small guide, “Gunshot Wounds and Other Accidents of the Nerves,” that incorporated Mooney’s situation report less than the title “Wound of the Sympathetic Nerve.” Clean out of health care school when he entered armed service company, Eager created the analysis on recognizing the similarities in between the soldier’s deal with and that of a cat illustrated in a textbook of physiology.

In 1905, in the vicinity of the finish of Keen’s vocation as a groundbreaking neurosurgeon, the College or university of Physicians of Philadelphia published his reminiscences about the situation:

“The initial anxious situation that I bear in mind was a really impressive a single, and the initial of its sort ever recorded. It transpired although I was government officer at the Satterlee Hospital, West Philadelphia. As government officer it was my duty to assign new people to the wards, and also to transfer the circumstances in the specialties, these kinds of as the eye, anxious ailments, and accidents, etcetera., to the particular hospitals. One morning, as I sat at my desk, a soldier used for assignment. On looking up at him I mentioned to myself: ‘You are Dalton’s cat.’

“Those acquainted with Dalton’s great outdated textbook of physiology will bear in mind a cat whose proper cervical sympathetic nerve [the portion in the neck] had been severed. The left pupil is really large, the proper a single really small, and the minute I appeared at this guy I was struck by the related affliction of his pupils. I immediately requested him, ‘Where are you wounded?’ and when he pointed to his neck I mentioned to myself yet again, ‘That ball ruined the sympathetic nerve.’

“In the autumn of 1864 I took a duplicate of [our] guide to Claude Bernard, in Paris, [a legendary physiologist and] the discoverer of the functionality of the cervical sympathetic and the effect of its division [slicing] on the pupil and the blood vessels. He exhibited real Gallic enthusiasm when I confirmed him the initial recorded situation in the human matter, which verified his outstanding researches.”

“Dalton’s cat” was a drawing in John Phone Dalton’s “A Treatise on Human Physiology.” Eager attended Jefferson Medical College or university in Philadelphia in between 1860 and 1862, and may well have viewed the drawing in possibly the initial edition (1859) or second edition (1862). At a time when medicine was battling to obtain a scientific footing, Dalton’s writings have been noteworthy for becoming centered on experimental observations. Dalton was a single of America’s initial physiologists and had analyzed with Claude Bernard following graduating from Harvard Medical College in 1847.

(C) 2006 by Gary Cordingley



Resource by Gary Cordingley