History of MS (8): Clinical course

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There have been a few recent queries concerning the clinical course of MS. The first graphical documentation of the various clinical subtypes was in the first edition of “Multiple Sclerosis” by Douglas McAlpine, Nigel Compston and Charles Lumsden. 



Source: McApline D, Compston ND, Lumsden CE: Multiple Sclerosis. E&S Livingstone Ltd, London, 1955.

This text book is now in its 4th edition and is considered by most to be the definitive textbook on multiple sclerosis. The following are some reviewer’s comments in relation to the fourth edition: 

“The principal merit of this book is the clear and coherent approach of the six authors, who are the world’s leading figures in the field, to describing and interpreting the many complex and variable aspects of multiple sclerosis.” NEJM

“Since its inception, McAlpine’s Multiple Sclerosis has achieved the rare distinction of becoming one of the classical neurological texts of the last century. The possession of this book was a priority for anyone practising neurology and a necessary acquisition for any self-respecting medical library.” Brain

“The authors must be warmly congratulated on producing an outstanding reference text that Nigel Compston and his original coauthors would be immensely proud of, their intention at the outset being that of simulating interest in the ever widening field of demyelinating diseases. This book clearly fulfils that legacy and definitively presents the current state of knowledge.” J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

“The problem with academic textbooks, particularly in the field of medicine, is that they are usually out of date before the are even published. This is particularly problematic in a rapidly moving field such as neurology. I can’t remember when I last used a textbook to find information in relation to a clinical subject; the web is my first port of call.”


“I would not recommend MS’ers purchase this textbook; it is not written for MS’ers or lay readers. It assumes the reader has specialist background knowledge in several fields.”

Other posts on this blog you may find interesting in relation to the history of MS:

Multiple Sclerosis Research: Education History of MS (7): Jean …
18 Jan 2012
Jean-Martin Charcot (1825 – 1893) was a French neurologist, who worked at the Salpêtrière hospital, Paris. He is known as “the founder of modern neurology” and is associated with at least 15 medical conditions including …


Multiple Sclerosis Research: History of MS (6): Friedrich von …
09 Oct 2011
In 1849, the German pathologist Friedrich Theodor von Frerichs, brought medical recognition of MS a step closer by elaborating on the clinical description of MS provided by Cruveilhier and identifying specific symptoms and …

Multiple Sclerosis Research: History of MS (5): Jean Cruveilhier …
21 Jul 2011
Cruveilhier’s contribution to the field goes beyond his description of its pathology; he was the first to record the clinical history of a patient later found to have neuronal lesions. His notes recall that the woman: “had been ill six …

Multiple Sclerosis Research: History of MS (4): Robert Carswell …
10 Jul 2011
History of MS (4): Robert Carswell (1793-1857). The first description of the pathology of MS was made by Robert Carswell, a pathologist of the mid 19th century. During a postmortem, Carswell found lesions in the spinal cord …

Multiple Sclerosis Research: History of MS (3): Sir August d’Esté …
01 Jul 2011
After St. Lidwina the next historical description of MS appeared in 19th century; a personal account of the illness by Sir Augustus d’Esté, the illegitimate grandson of George III of England. D’Esté documented the course of his …

Multiple Sclerosis Research: History of MS (2): St. Lidwina of …
26 Jun 2011
Possibly the earliest known description of a case of MS referred to the woman depicted in this woodcut, St. Lidwina of Schiedam. Lidwina lived in Holland in the 14th century and historical texts reveal that she was afflicted with …

Multiple Sclerosis Research: History of MS (1): Russell Brains …
23 Jun 2011
History of MS (1): Russell Brains Monologue. Murray T. Russell Brains Review of MS. Int MS J. 2011 May;17(2):50-3. In 1930 there were many conflicting views on the cause, incidence, precipitating factors, inheritance and …

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Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

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