1919. Johann Hoffmann

Johann Hoffmann (1857-1919) was a German physician. He began medical training in Heidelberg, where he received the medical degree with a dissertation on a case with Guillain–Barré syndrome.

He initially worked in Heidelberg under Friedreich and after his death, under Erb, whose he was the youngest students. In particular, he continued the works of his professor on neuropathology and electrotherapy, becoming a leading figure in these fields. During his academic career, Hoffman published several original papers covering a number of case studies and different neurological topics. In 1919 he was appointed as full professor of neuropathology at Heidelberg. His main fields of interest were disorders of the spinal cord, peripheral nerve fibres and muscles, particularly tetanus, multiple sclerosis, syringomyelia, hereditary spinal ataxia, peripheral facial paralysis and traumatic neurosis. Hoffmann published early papers on infantile hereditary progressive spinal muscular atrophy, now known as Werdnig-Hoffmann disease. In addition, conducting some studies on patients with muscular dystrophy and myotonia, recognized a new type of this disorder, i.e. “myotonia atrophica”. Finally, Hoffmann is recalled by the eponyms “Hoffmann’s sign”, “Hoffamann’s reflex” and “Hoffmann’s syndrome”.

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