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Letter to the Editor   |    
Tribute to Lasègue
WALTER VANDEREYCKEN, M.D., Ph.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:2092-a-2092. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.12.2092-a

To the Editor: A well-deserved tribute was paid to the French psychiatrist Charles Lasègue by Henri Chabrol, M.D., Ph.D., and Jacques Corraze, M.D., Ph.D. (1). The French authors, however, were not overly chauvinistic. They forgot to mention Lasègue’s pioneering work in forensic psychiatry, including his seminal papers on exhibitionism and kleptomania. Moreover, they erroneously dated his beautiful psychological description of anorexia nervosa as "5 years after Gull’s" (p. 28). As van Deth and I discussed elsewhere (2), Gull’s so-called discovery of "hysterical apepsia" in 1868 was his own reinterpretation of a cryptic reference to the disorder that had been made to support his claim for priority in describing the new illness. A careful analysis of the original sources clearly shows that "the modern history of anorexia nervosa commences in 1973 with the independent ‘parenthood’ shared by Sir William Withey Gull and Dr. Ernest Charles Lasègue" (3, p. 161).

Chabrol H, Corraze J: Charles Lasègue, 1809-1883. Am J Psychiatry  2001; 158:28
[CrossRef]
 
Vandereycken W, van Deth R: Who was the first to describe anorexia nervosa: Gull or Lasègue? Psychol Med  1989; 19:837-845
[PubMed]
[CrossRef]
 
Vandereycken W, van Deth R: From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation. New York, New York University Press, 1994
 
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References

Chabrol H, Corraze J: Charles Lasègue, 1809-1883. Am J Psychiatry  2001; 158:28
[CrossRef]
 
Vandereycken W, van Deth R: Who was the first to describe anorexia nervosa: Gull or Lasègue? Psychol Med  1989; 19:837-845
[PubMed]
[CrossRef]
 
Vandereycken W, van Deth R: From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls: The History of Self-Starvation. New York, New York University Press, 1994
 
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