Thomas Sydenham

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thomas Sydenham

Thomas Sydenham (also Syndenham ) (born September 10, 1624 in Wynford Eagle near Dorchester , Dorset , † December 29, 1689 in London ) was an English doctor. He was also known as the "English Hippocrates ".


Sydenham, the fifth child of a Dorset lord, was raised in a Puritan manner. Until 1646 he served in Oliver Cromwell's parliamentary army . After taking care of the wounded, the doctor Thomas Coxe persuaded him to study medicine in Magdalen Hall in Oxford from 1642 . But he was also a surgeon on the battlefield, and later, with his severance pay from military service, he opened a practice in Westminster, London . His assistant was the philosopher and doctor John Locke , who would later become famous.

Work and work

Sydenham was practical, considered unorthodox and rebellious. He pursued the inductive way of thinking and research and also recommended a wait-and-see approach or trust in the self-healing powers.

He researched the infectious diseases that were rampant in the Thames marshland at that time and presented a number of classic descriptions of these diseases - including the chorea minor that he first described in 1686 and named after him . He also dealt with neurological and psychiatric diseases such as epilepsy and hysteria .

In 1660 and 1664 a measles epidemic raged in London. Sydenham differentiated measles as a fever outbreak and contagious disease, just as he essentially contributed to the differentiation of febrile diseases ( scarlet fever or febris scarlatina , gangrene).

In 1666 he published his major work Methodus curandi febres propiis observationibus suprastructa, edited in London . From the 3rd edition in 1676 it appeared under the title Observationes medicae . In his work from 1683 (such as the Tractatus de podagra et hydrope ), he first distinguished between rheumatism and gout , which he suffered from himself and which he traced back to a fault in the kidneys when cleaning the organism.

In terms of therapy, Sydenham narrowed the indication of quinine to the free interval in malaria.

Sydenham was married to Mary Gee. One of his three sons also studied medicine.

Fonts (selection)

  • Opera omnia. 1683-1685.
  • Schedula monitoria de novae febris ingressu. London 1686.
  • All of Thomas Sydenham's medical writings translated into German, edited by J. Kraft with a biography of Dr. R. Rohatzsch . Ed .: R. Rohatzsch. First volume. Ebnersche Buchhandlung, Ulm 1838 ( full text in the Google book search).
  • All of Thomas Sydenham's medical writings translated into German, edited by J. Kraft with a biography of Dr. R. Rohatzsch . Ed .: R. Rohatzsch. Second volume. Ebnersche Buchhandlung, Ulm 1839 ( full text in the Google book search - keywords and important sentences smallpox, laudanum, latwerge, bloodletting, podagra, fever, nutmeg, kops, dropsy, absorbency, accidents, hestig, kidney stone, sweat, quentchen, following, Ansall , Decoction, emetics, herbs).
Opera medica
  • Thomae Sydenham ... opera medica: imo indice alphabetico locupletissimo in locum elenchi rerum suffecto, utilissime ornata . Ed. novissima aliis omnibus quae praecesserunt multo emaculatior et novis additamentis ditior. de Tournes, Genevae 1757. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf
  • Integri processus in morbis fere omnibus curandis . Attached works: Quibus accessit graphica symptomatum delineatio. Amstelodami: Wetsenius, 1694. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf
  • Opera universa. Leiden 1741.
  • Epistolary dissertation. In: The works of Thomas Sydenham, MD Vol. 2, translated by RC Lathan. London 1848.


  • H. Kushner, D. Cortes: Sydenham's chorea. In: Peter J. Koehler u. a. (Ed.): Neurological Eponyms. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000, ISBN 0-19-513366-8 , pp. 350-357.
  • Andrae Heinrich: About the medicine of Thomas Sydenhams (1624–1689). Dissertation University of Zurich (1903/04 annual number 29).

Web links

Commons : Thomas Sydenham  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Barbara I. Tshisuaka: Sydenham. Thomas. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1369 f.
  2. a b c Sabine Schuchart: Famous discoverers of diseases: Thomas Sydenham, rebel at the bedside. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt. Volume 115, Issue 12, March 23, 2018, p. 60.
  3. Wolfgang Miehle: Joint and spinal rheumatism. Eular Verlag, Basel 1987, ISBN 3-7177-0133-9 , p. 45 f.
  4. ^ A b Axel W. Bauer : Thomas Sydenham. In: Wolfgang U. Eckart , Christoph Gradmann (Hrsg.): Ärztelexikon. From antiquity to the present. 3. Edition. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg / Berlin / New York 2006, p. 316. ( , doi: 10.1007 / 978-3-540-29585-3 .