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Thomas Sydenham

Sydenham, Thomas, 1624–89, English physician, called "the English Hippocrates." He studied at Oxford and Montpellier, and practiced in London. His conceptions of the causes and treatments of epidemics and his classic descriptions of gout, smallpox, malaria, scarlet fever, hysteria, and chorea established him as a founder of modern clinical medicine and epidemiology. He advocated direct observation instead of theorizing to determine the nature of disease and introduced the use of such drugs as cinchona bark (containing quinine) in treating malaria, and laudanum in treating other disorders.

See studies by J. F. Payne (1900) and D. Riesman (1926); K. Dewhurst, Dr. Thomas Sydenham, 1624–1689: His Life and Original Writings (1966).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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