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Baker's cyst

  • Herniation of the synovial membrane of the knee joint associated with degenerative disease of the knee
  • W M Baker (1839-1896) English surgeon, born in Andover, the son of the town's solicitor. He undertook an apprenticeship with the local surgeon, Mr Payne, and in 1858 entered St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1861.  He became a midwifery assistant, and a year later entered the dissecting room. In 1867 he was elected demonstrator of anatomy. He became editor of Kirke's Handbook of Physiology, a book which had initially been designed by Kirke's and Sir James Paget in 1848. He was Sir James Paget's private assistant for some years, and became lecturer in physiology at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1869, a position he held until 1885. He was elected an assistant surgeon to the hospital in 1871 and a surgeon in 1882. He was surgeon to the skin department of St. Bartholomew's Hospital and wrote a number of articles on bone and joint problems. He became regarded as an expert in renal surgery, particularly nephrolithotomy. During the last years of his life he developed locomotor ataxia and he was forced to resign his appointment in 1892. He was particularly interested in his hospital and had a superb collection of old prints and engravings of its development which he had collected over the years. He was a well built, good looking man, fond of boxing when a student, also a very keen cricketer who made a regular habit of watching the Gentlemen versus Players game at Lords. He was very attentive to his patients, and very kindly to students.

Bartholin's cyst

  • Enlargement of Bartholin gland, situated near introitus of the vagina.
  • Caspar Bartholin (1655-1738) Danish anatomist and physician, born in Copenhagen. His father described the intestinal lymphatics and their drainage via the thoracic duct into the venous system, edited one of the earliest medical journals, Acta Medica Hofmensia. He described an encephalitis epidemic in Denmark in 1657. Whilst still a medical student he was appointed Professor of Philosophy, and travelled and studied extensively in Europe, and in Paris worked with the anatomist Guichard Duveraey, and together they found Bartholin glands in a cow. In 1678 he commenced practice in Copenhagen. Caspar also discovered the sublingual glands and their ducts and later in life became interested in politics, becoming Procurator General in 1719, and Deputy of Finance in 1724.

Battle sign

  • Bluish discoloration of the skin over the mastoid process suggests fracture of the base of the skull.
  • W H Battle (1855-1936) English surgeon, was born in Lincoln and educated at Lincoln Grammar School, entering St. Thomas' Medical School, London, in 1873. He was an excellent student, graduating in 1877. He gained his FRCS. in 1880 and became surgical registrar at St. Thomas' and in 1892 assistant surgeon. The same year he was appointed to the Lancet as general surgical advisor. He was experienced in obstetrics and had a long association with the Royal Free Hospital and taught in the Medical School for Women.

Bell's palsy

  • Lower motor neurone paralysis of the 7th cranial nerve
  • Sir C. Bell (1774-1842) Scottish physiologist and surgeon. He was the son of an episcopal clergyman and left Edinburgh in 1801 for London, following an argument between his eldest brother and members of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, both were denied positions at the Royal Infirmary or the University. Bell was an accomplished artist and made his name in London initially by his publication "Essays on the Anatomy of Painting". He established that sensory and motor functions were carried by the spinal nerves and that the anterior roots carried motor fibres and the posterior roots the sensory fibres (Bell Law). It is doubtful if he recognised the significance of his finding at the time (1811), since he still held that all nerves were sensory. He disliked vivisection and it remained for Magendie (1822) and J. Miller (1831) to establish his finding conclusively. He described proprioceptive sensation and demonstrated that the 5th cranial nerve supplied sensation to the face and the muscles of mastication. He was an able surgeon who attended the wounded at Corunna and Waterloo and made sketches and paintings of the scenes, slides of some of which are available at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. He was a kindly man and somewhat of a dandy in dress. He founded the Middlesex Hospital and Medical School, London, and in 1836 became Professor of Surgery at Edinburgh.

Bowen disease

  • Intra-epidermal squamous neoplasia
  • J T Bowen (1857-1941.) U S. dermatologist born in Boston and graduated from Harvard in 1884. He studied in Germany and Vienna spending two years there before returning as assistant physician to out-patients with diseases of the skin at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1889. In 1907 he was appointed Professor of Dermatology at Harvard, resigning in 1911 to become emeritus. Always rather shy, lecturing was almost torture to him. He loved "mulling" things over and investigating skin conditions by microscopy. A bachelor, he became a recluse except to his closest friends. He was afflicted with an undiagnosed form of vertigo which incapacitated him in his last years.



Last updated: 03 January 2011

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