James Israel

James Adolf Israël (1848 - 1926)

James Adolf Israël (1848 – 1926) was a German surgeon 

Israel was a pioneer in modern urologic and renal surgery but also made contributions to plastic and oral-maxillofacial surgery. Co-founder of the journal Folia Urologica and publishing over 170 articles.

Israel is credited with the first description of the bacterial genus Actinomyces in humans and his name commemorated in medicine for describing Actinomyces israelii between 1878 and 1882

In 1877 Israel was the second author (after Nicoladoni in 1875) to describe the effect most commonly termed Branham sign (1890)

  • Born on February 2, 1848
  • 1870 – MD, Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin; studied under Ludwig Traube (1818-1876). Before taking final exams he enlisted as a military physician in the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871); awarded the Eiserne Kreuz [Iron Cross]
  • 1871 – further medical studies in Vienna
  • 1872 – assistant physician at the hospital for the Jewish Community in Berlin studying under Bernhard von Langenbeck (1810-1887)
  • 1874 – visited Joseph Lister (1827-1912) in Edinburgh to learn of the newly introduced system of antisepsis
  • 1875 – deputy physician-in-chief of the surgical department of the Jewish hospital, Berlin 
  • 1894 – professor of surgery of the Jewish Hospital
  • 1907 – Co-founder of Folia Urologica (1907-1918; later Zeitschrift für urologische Chirurgie)
  • Died on February 2, 1926 aged 78

Medical Eponyms
Actinomyces israelii

Actinomyces israelii is a species of Gram-positive rod bacteria known to live on and within humans. A. israelii is an opportunistic pathogen and a cause of actinomycosis.

1877, pathologist Otto Bollinger (1843-1909) discovered and described Actinomyces bovis in cattle. Later in the same year Israel isolated Actinomyces in humans and initially classified it as a fungal in origin

David Henricks Bergey (1860-1937) in the 5th edition of Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology (published 1939: 926), classified Actinomyces into bacteria.

Nicoladoni-Israel-Branham sign

Compression of the arterial supply to an arteriovenous fistula causes a decrease in pulse and increase in blood pressure if there is a significant circulation through the fistula.

In 1877, Israël published his paper on Angiectasie im Stromgebiete der A. tibilais antica. Beobachtung einiger bemerkenswerther Phaenomene nach Unterbindung der A. femoralis, the observation of some remarkable phenomena after ligation of the femoral artery in a case of tibial arterial AV malformation. In particular, on March 16th, after ligation of the femoral artery the pulse dropped from 108 to 42 bpm

Branham sign. Israel bradycardia post femoral artery ligation 1877
Marked bradycardia day 1 post femoral artery ligation. Israël, 1877

Es wird aus dem Folgenden hervorgehen, dass die Unterbindung der Femoralis eine Ueberfüllung der Herzhöhlen begünstigen musste. Denn der Effect der Unterbindung bestand, wie dargethan werden wird, 1) in stärkerer Füllung des Gefässystems, 2) in Steigerung der arteriellen Spannung, 3) in bedeutender Pulsverlangsamung.

Israël, 1877

From the following we observe that the femoral vessel acts as a reservoir for the heart chambers. The effect of this synergy results in 1. enhanced  vascular filing 2. increased arterial blood pressure 3. marked bradycardia…

Israël, 1877

Major Publications



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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