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 Thomas Addison

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Thomas Addison

  • Birth 2 Apr 1793 Longbenton, Metropolitan Borough of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England
  • Death 29 Jun 1860 Brighton, Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority, East Sussex, England
  • Burial Lanercost, City of Carlisle, Cumbria, England
  • Memorial ID 12954289

English Scientist, Physician, and Medical Pioneer. He is best remembered for his discovery of the degenerative disease of the adrenal glands that was later named Addison's Disease in his honor. He was born in Long Benton, near Newcastle, England, where his father was a grocer and flour dealer. After attending the local village school he went to the Royal Free Grammar School in Newcastle. In 1812 he entered the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland to pursue a career as a physician and received his Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1815. He moved to London, England the same year and took up his residency as a house surgeon at the Lock Hospital. Inspired by his teachers, he became acutely interested in diseases of the skin which would stay with him for the remainder of his life. In 1817 he enrolled as a physician's pupil at Guy' Hospital in London. He obtained his licentiateship in the Royal College of Physicians in 1819 and some years later was elected a Fellow of the Royal College. In January 1824 he was promoted to assistant physician and in 1827 he was appointed lecturer of materia medica. In 1835 he was joint lecturer with Richard Bright on practical medicine, and in 1837 he became a full physician at Guy's Hospital. When Bright retired from the lectureship in 1840 Addison became sole lecturer. In 1849 he discovered Addisonian anemia or Addison-Biermer disease, now synonymous with pernicious anemia which involves Vitamin B12 deficiency and in 1855 he described Addison's Disease, sometimes called bronze skin disease, in his publication: "On the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules." He was described a brilliant lecturer and attracted a large number of medical students to his lectures. He was also was a superb diagnostician but rather a shy and taciturn man and had a small practice, at a time when physicians of his position usually had large practices. One of the most respected physicians at Guy's Hospital, he exerted a great deal of influence, devoting himself almost wholly to his students as well as his patients. However, he suffered from many episodes of melancholia depression, which probably contributed to his retirement in 1860 and in June of that year he committed suicide at his residence in London at the age of 67 by jumping from an elevated area in front of his house and impacting his head, causing instant death.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: s.canning
  • Added: 11 Jan 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12954289
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Addison (2 Apr 1793–29 Jun 1860), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12954289, citing Lanercost Priory, Lanercost, City of Carlisle, Cumbria, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .