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Duchenne du Boulogne - De L'Electrisation Localise

The French scientist Guillaume Duchenne du Boulogne took medical electricity into the realm of physiology and anatomy in the late 17th century.

Localised Faradisation and the study of anatomy

The French scientist Guillaume Duchenne du Boulogne took medical electricity into the realm of physiology and anatomy in the late 17th century. His experiments greatly extended human knowledge of our physical selves and thus medical treatment. Duchenne while conducting trials of electropuncture observed that closing the circuit caused a muscular contraction. By limiting the effects of electrification to individual muscles he was able to determine their exact functions.

Localised faradisation, as he called it, meant he was able to greatly extend knowledge on the physiology of movement. The process was invaluable for the study of anatomy and as a diagnostic and prognostic tool. Duchenne's study using his localised excitation techniques enabled him to deduce much about the causes of many conditions, such as paralysis and muscle deformity.  

Duchenne's "De L'electrisation Localise" described techniques of application of localised electropuncture therapy - either direct (to the muscle) or indirect (to the nerve) excitation.

Excitation of the muscles in the arm from Physiologie des Mouvements by Duchenne de Boulogne 1867 Illustration of hand paralysis from Physiologie des Mouvements by Duchenne de Boulogne 1867

 

Duchenne also designed some of the first prosthetics.

Treatment of the leg using localised faradisation from Physiologie des Mouvements by Duchenne de Boulogne 1867 Illustration of a prosthetic arm from Physiologie des Mouvements by Duchenne de Boulogne 1867

 

Next page → Du Bois Reymond's Electrophysiology

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