Bernhard Naunyn

Bernhard Naunyn (1839 - 1925)

Bernhard Naunyn (1839 – 1925) was a German physician and pathologist.

  • Born on September 2, 1839 in Berlin
  • 1862 – Received medical qualification at the University of Berlin
  • 1869-1871 Professor of Medicine and head of clinics at the University of Dorpat (now Tartu, Estonia)
  • 1871-1972 Professor of Medicine at the University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 1872-1888 Professor of Medicine at the University of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia)
  • 1873 – Co-founded Archiv für Experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie with Edwin Klebs (1834-1913) and Oswald Schmiederberg (1838-1921)
  • 1888-1904 Professor of Medicine at the University of Strassbourg, France
  • Died on July 26, 1925

Medical Eponyms
Murphy Sign (1896)

In 1896, Naunyn, in his treatise on cholelithiasis described clinical examination for gallstones with palpation in the right upper quadrant on inspiration and comparing right and left hypochondria.

Naunyn’s method of palpation was published 7 years before that of John B. Murphy (1857 – 1916) and bears the closest resemblance to the clinical examination skill employed today.

If the liver is swollen as the result of the attack (i.e., recently) the organ is always more or less tender, and often very acutely so; but frequently it is tender without being swollen. In such cases it is found that pain is induced when, during a deep inspiration, pressure is made with the hand as far upwards as possible beneath the right costal border. At the moment when the liver impinges upon the tips of the fingers the patient experiences a deep-seated pain which sometimes radiates over the entire hepatic region and on to the epigastrium. By no means rarely, however, the tenderness of the liver is only manifested by tension of the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall on the right side, and in such cases the difference in tension of the right and left side respectively is best observed in the rectus abdominis.

Key Medical Attributions

Naunyn introduced the term “acidosis.” in 1898

Gallstone disease

Diabetes Mellitus


Major Publications



Eponymous terms

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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