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Article |

Muscular Dystrophy, 1865

Maurice H. Charlton, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1973;125(6):893. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.04160060089021.
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This classic article by Griesinger reports the first instance of a muscle biopsy. Although Duchenne had already, in 1861, described what is now known as pseudohypertrophic muscular dystrophy or "Duchennetype muscular dystrophy," there was no agreement as to whether the disease was primarily myogenic or neurogenic until Griesinger's biopsy, which was performed by the famous Billroth. Both Billroth and Griesinger were in Zurich at this time, and both owed their fame to achievements other than this article. Griesinger, born in Stuttgart in 1817, was noted for his neuropsychiatric theories and practices. He died in 1868, three years after the article's publication.1

Apart from the introduction of the technique of muscle biopsy (which is still yielding not only rich diagnostic information but even the discovery of new clinical entities), this article is important for establishing the primarily myogenic nature of Duchennetype dystrophy. Griesinger's emphasis on the infiltration of fat


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