Thomas Willis

Thomas Willis (1621–1675) was an English physician.

  • Born 27 January 1621 Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire
  • Died 11 November 1675

Medical Eponyms
Willis-Ekbom disease (Witmaack-Ekbom syndrome; Restless leg syndrome)

Restless leg syndrome appears to be an enigmatic disorder probably influenced by heterogeneous environmental and genetic factors that may work through a variety of so far ill-defined neurochemical systems.

Thomas Willis records in his posthumous publication The London Practice of Physick (1685):

Wherefore to some, when being abed they betake themselves to sleep, presently in the arms and legs, leapings and contractions of the tendons, and so great a restlessness and tossing of their members ensue, that the diseased are no more able to sleep, than if they were in a place of the greatest torture

Willis: Of the Watching Evil 1685: 404-405 [PDF]
Circle of Willis

Thomas Willis was not the first to describe the arterial circle at the base of the brain, but was the first to provide a complete description; an illustration of this vascular pattern; and to indicate that he understood the probable function of the arterial circle. The illustration was drawn by Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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 |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.