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Erschienen in: Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 15-16/2016

01.11.2016 | main topic

Daniel Bovet, Nobelist: muscle relaxants in anaesthesia

The role played by two neglected protagonists

verfasst von: Dimitri A Cozanitis

Erschienen in: Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift | Ausgabe 15-16/2016

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Summary

In 1957, Professor Daniel Bovet received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his studies on various compounds including the muscle relaxants gallamine and succinylcholine that became very useful in anaesthesia. Textbooks credit Professor Bovet for the discovery of these drugs. However, although he indeed did discover their pharmacological character, the actual syntheses were made by Ernest Fourneau and Reid Hunt, respectively; sadly, these two scientists have largely been ignored. In this paper, a brief biography of Bovet is presented along with some of his more notable accomplishments. Particular emphasis has been placed on gallamine and succinylcholine along with their history. In an attempt to undo the “injustice” dealt to both Fourneau and Hunt, brief accounts of their history, story and character are provided.
Fußnoten
1
The need for such drugs would become critical, especially for the Allied military forces when the Japanese conquered the Philippines and Java, the main sources of the bark of Cinchona sp.
 
2
Berger describes a singular use of curare on patients with parkinsonism—for their spasticity, they received curare, 50 mg intramuscularly, either by the physician or themselves. An ampoule of edrophonium was kept on hand [12].
 
3
George B Koelle, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania
 
4
Willstätter was a Jew who, in spite of his scientific achievements, was not spared Hitler’s persecution and so with heaviness of heart, left his native land in 1939, for a village close to Locarno in Switzerland.
 
5
A pleasing revelation concerning Stovaine surfaced in Stedman’s Medical Dictionary (18th ed.) where Stovainization is defined as: “The induction of spinal anaesthesia by subarachnoid injections of Stovaine”.
 
6
Polypterus bichir was mistakenly believed to be a lungfish and a link between fishes and amphibians. Coloured greenish-yellow-brown, it has 13–18 dorsal finlets. The lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw. It is covered by scales of enamel, crawls with its fins and swims like an eel. Basking in the mud, it jumps from the water to gasp air into its air sacs. The adult male is some 75 cm long and weighs about 2.5 kg
 
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Metadaten
Titel
Daniel Bovet, Nobelist: muscle relaxants in anaesthesia
The role played by two neglected protagonists
verfasst von
Dimitri A Cozanitis
Publikationsdatum
01.11.2016
Verlag
Springer Vienna
Erschienen in
Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift / Ausgabe 15-16/2016
Print ISSN: 0043-5341
Elektronische ISSN: 1563-258X
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10354-016-0481-y