Robert Whytt 1714-1766
“Whilst much emphasis is places on the writings of Jean Martin Charcot in 1868 as the first clinicopathological description of MS, there had been earlier case presentations in the 1820s. This current study re-reports on the writings from a Scottish physician called Robert Whytt postumously reprinted in 1768. The report that was noted by Benjamin Franklin and then forgotten and discusses the case of Elisabeth Foster (so much for patient confidentiality) reported by Patrick Drydone in 1757.”
…. till the month of July, 1755, when she was again taken ill ….. troubled with worse nervous symptoms than ever, ending at last in a paralytic disorder, which sometimes affected the arm, sometimes the leg, of the left side; in such a manner as that these parts, tho’ deprived of all motion for the time, yet still retained their sensibility. In this condition she remained till the spring 1756, when unexpectedly she grew much better; but not so far as to get quite rid of her paralytic complaints; which, in cold weather, seldom failed to manifest themselves by a numbness, trembling, sensation of cold, and a loss of motion in the left side…..
“This section describes intermittent episodes of weakness or paralysis affecting the arm or leg that remitted or improved.”
“In this section the case report refers to another episode of paralysis of the left side of the body associated with loss of feeling. It also describes slurring of speech and shaking of the head. These signs are probably due to a lesion or lesions in the cerebellum or brainstem. The dimming of vision in the left eye would be compatible with optic neuritis. The loss of colour vision is typical of optic neuritis.”
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