Carl Wernicke

Karl Wernicke (1848 – 1905) was a German neurologist and psychiatrist.

TEXT INFO


Biography

  • Born 15 May 1848 Tarnowitz, Prussia (Tarnowskie Gory, Poland)
  • 1876 – First assistant under Karl Westphal (1833–1890) at the Berlin Charité practising neuropsychiatry
  • 1897 – Founded the journal Monatsschrift für Psychiatrie und Neurologie with Theodor Ziehen (1862-1950)
  • Died 15 June 1905 Dörrberg im Geratal, Thüringer Wald

Medical Eponyms

Wernicke’s aphasia (1874)

Wernicke’s aphasia is the classical “receptive aphasia”, in distinction to the “expressive aphasia” of Broca, although this terminology is problematic since there are concurrent “expressive” problems in Wernicke’s aphasia (and “receptive” problems in Broca’s aphasia).

Wernicke encephalopathy (Wernicke syndrome) (1881)

Constellation of nystagmus, ophthalmoplegia, cerebellar signs, neuropathy, and inability to record new information (“loss of recent memory”) as a result of thiamine deficiency (secondary to alcoholism and/or starvation). Anatomical changes include bilateral pinhead-sized haemorrhages in the mamillary bodies and in the periventricular and periaqueductal grey matter. [aka Wernicke disease; Wernicke syndrome; polioencephalitis hemorrhagica superior; Meynert amentia, Gayet disease, Gayet-Wernicke syndrome]

Wernicke hemianopic pupil (1883)

Loss of the pupillary reflex when a thin pencil of light is shone exclusively upon the “blind” side of the retina, indicating that the lesion is anterior to the point at which the pupillary fibres leave the optic tract for the superior colliculus, because when the lesion is more posterior, these fibres are spared, and so pupillary constriction still occurs even when the “blind” retina is stimulated.


Wernicke’s cramp (1904)

A rare form of painful local muscle cramp precipitated by precipitated by anxiety or fear. Described by Wernicke in a lecture-demonstration in 1904


Key Medical Attributions


Controversies


Major Publications


References


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Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a 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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