Jules Sottas

Jules Sottas (1866–1945) was a French neurologist, historian and astronomer

Jules Sottas (1866–1945) has almost been forgotten. As a young man he was a resident under Dejerine, and during brief time as a physician, he published several detailed neuro-pathological studies, under the watchful eye of his mentor Dejerine.

Although Sottas could have had a successful neurology career, preferred working as a general practitioner, which made it possible for him to pursue his interests in historical research. He eventually gave up medicine and devoted himself to his passions – naval history, astronomy and the history of navigation.

  • Born 22 May 1866 in Paris, France
  • 1887 – Graduated medicine from the Faculté de médecine, Paris
  • 1888 – Hôpital La Charite with Paul Blachez (1827– 1890)
  • 1889 – Hôpital Beaujon with Léon Labbé (1832– 1916)
  • 1890 – Surgery resident at the Hôpital Tenon
  • 1891-1895 Chargé de laboratoire at the Hospice de Bicêtre and at the Salpêtrière under Jules-Joseph Déjerine (1849 – 1917)
  • 1894 – Doctor of medicine. Defended thesis: Contribution à l’étude anatomique et clinique des paralysies spinales syphilitiques
  • 1914 – Mobilised in World War I as ‘major médecin de première classe du troisième corps d’armée’ at hospital no. 31 in Deauville
  • 1917 – Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur
  • 1927 – Officier de la Légion d’honneur
  • 1942 – President of the Académie de Marine
  • Died 28 September 1945

Medical Eponyms

Dejerine-Sottas Disease (1893) Jules-Joseph Déjerine (1849 – 1917) and Jules Sottas presented autopsy studies of a brother and sister with progressive atrophy of the muscles of the extremities. They described a form of heredity peripheral neuropathy leading to amyotrophy secondary to a mutation of one of the many genes responsible for the formation of myelin. Now known as ‘hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy type III’, or ‘Type 3 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

The title of the paper says it all really: “On hypertrophic and progressive interstitial neuritis in childhood; often familial and early childhood disease characterized by muscular atrophy of the extremities with marked disturbances of sensitivity and ataxia of movements and arising from hypertrophic interstitial neuritis with ascending course with consequent spinal cord lesions”

Dejerine-Sottas disease 1893 67-68
Dejerine-Sottas disease 1893 67-68

Atrophie musculaire excessive des jambes et des cuisses, diminuant un peu et remontant vers la racine des membres. Les deux pieds présentent les deformations suivantes (fig 1) Aux membres supérieurs, l’atrophie musculaire est très marquée dans les muscles des mains, un peu moins dans ceux des avant-bras. Mains simiennes. Atrophie des thénars et des interosseux sans griffe cubitale (fig 2)

Dejerine, Sottas 1893: 67-68

Excessive muscular atrophy of the legs and thighs, decreasing a little and rising towards the roots of the limbs. Both feet present the following deformations (fig 1) In the upper limbs, muscular atrophy is very marked in the muscles of the hands, a little less in those of the forearms. Simian hands. Atrophy of the thenars and interossei without ulnar claw (fig 2)

Dejerine, Sottas 1893: 67-68

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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