Dr Auguste Forel

Dr Auguste Forel

Birth
Morges, District de Morges, Vaud, Switzerland
Death 27 Jul 1931 (aged 82)
Yvorne, District d'Aigle, Vaud, Switzerland
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend, Specifically: Cremated two days after death and given to wife.
Memorial ID 177203365 · View Source
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Neurologist, Psychiatrist, Author. He gained world-wide recognition for his pioneer research of the brain, especially one diseased with prolonged alcoholism and latent syphilis. Since there were no antibiotics in his era, there was no sure cure for syphilis. Besides medicine, he had some other interests that gave him recognition throughout his lifetime. He studied medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland from 1866 to 1871, and then more studies at the University of Vienna in Austria, receiving his medical degree in 1872. He spent seven months studying with the brain specialist, Dr. Theodore Meynert, who supervised his doctorate thesis. In 1873 he traveled to Paris, France for training in mental asylums and in the same year, studied with noted psychiatrist to the Prussian Royal family, Johann Bernhard Aloys von Gudden. In 1879 he was appointed director of the Burgholzli Asylum in Zurich and at the age of 31, professor of psychiatry at the University of Zurich. His first major contribution to anatomy of the brain was his 1877 paper on the tegumental region, which described previous unknown structures of the brain. In 1887 he published one of his most important works, on the neuron theory, describing those cellular functional units within the brain or “The Contact Theory of Forel.” In 1889 he founded an institute at Zurick for medical treatment of alcoholism, Asile d'Ellikon, and throughout his career he worked for social reforms to prevent such causes of mental illness as a result of prolonged alcoholism and untreated syphilis with latent complications of brain damage. Of course, he was a firm supporter of the temperance movement. Other noted neurologists, such as Adolph Meyer studied with him. He was the son of Victor Forel, a geometer and Pauline Morin. Having an overprotective mother, he was very shy as a child. This shyness caused him to daydream and to study nature in detail as a child into adulthood. His mother was a devote Christian having her son in church every Sunday. On the day of his confirmation, he failed the test and told the clergy he did not believe in God, thus he was told he was not welcome in church and ran home crying. He never attended a Christian church again. He practiced and studied hypnosis and in 1889 published his book, “Hypnotism and Suggestive Psychotherapy." Another book, "Hygiene of the Nerves and the Spirit,” was published in 1903. He retired early from medical research in 1893 and devoted his life to social reform and the study of ants, myrmecology. He started studying ants when he was five years old and throughout his lifetime had been given recognition for his outstanding scientific work in this field. He published his book “Ants of Switzerland” in 1874; his study of ants earned him the Schlafli Foundation Prize, and he categorized 350,000 species of ants. After his death, it took seven trucks to move his collection of ants to a museum. He married, Emma Steinheil, in 1883 and had six children. His oldest son followed in his footsteps in the study of medicine, but died in 1912. Losing his son caused him a deep grief with withdrawal and depression, and he suffered a stroke within the year losing the use of his right hand and having dysphasia, the inability to speak well. In 1916, he became very vocal against Communism, yet he believed in socialism, and compared capitalism to alcoholism. He believed in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Within a short time, he wrote a book on his thoughts on faith in 1917, “The Religion of Social Good.” In a letter Forel wrote questions on faith to, the Persian spiritual leader, Abdu'l-Baha' and a reply was sent to Forel on a tablet on September 21, 1921. In the reply, Forel was told the differences between the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human world, the spiritual nature of man and proofs of the existence of God. This led to him becoming a member of the Bahá’í Faith along with members of his family and the surrounding community, which was not accepted by many. Named in the honor of him, the Forel International School is a Bahai-inspired school located in Bratislava, Slovakia. Two days after his death, he was cremated in Lausanne, Switzerland. From 1978 to 2000, Forel's image appeared on the 1000 Swiss Franc banknote. “The Sexual Question: A Scientific, Psychological, Hygienic, and Sociological Study” by Forel in 1905 was translated from German into six languages and into English in 2000 by Charles Marshall. A professional journal article, “Auguste-Henri Forel” by Canadian author and researcher Andrea Parent was published in 2003 in the Journal of Neurol, Vol 250, Issue 5. His autobiography”Out of My Life and Work,” which was translated to English in 1937, is a frank and fascinating self-portrait of an unique scientist of modern times. He is given credit for 46 publications on various subjects. He gave such a precise description of the hypothalamus of the brain that one of its regions was later name the Campus Foreli in his honor.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Created by: Naomi Snider (Yocom) McFadden
  • Added: 10 Mar 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 177203365
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Auguste Forel (1 Sep 1848–27 Jul 1931), Find A Grave Memorial no. 177203365, ; Maintained by Naomi Snider (Yocom) McFadden (contributor 47310768) Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend, who reports a Cremated two days after death and given to wife..