Louis-Florentin Calmeil  

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Louis-Florentin Calmeil (1798-1895) was a French psychiatrist and medical historian. He was an assistant to Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol (1772-1840) at Charenton, where he later succeeded Esquirol as director.

Calmeil is mostly remembered for his written works, particularly a book on insanity called ''De la folie, considérée sous le point de vue pathologique, philosophique, historique et judiciaire. It was one of the first publications concerning the history of psychiatry, and was a rational discourse of topics such as demonology, lycanthropy, religious obsession and other abnormal thought processes. The book covered psychiatric issues from the 15th to 19th centuries, and is still read today. Another important work by Calmeil was an 1826 treatise which discussed general paresis, the first separately identifiable neuropsychiatric disease entity. General paresis was originally described a few years earlier by Antoine Laurent Bayle (1799-1858).

Calmeil is credited with introducing the concept of "epileptic absence" for the brief loss of consciousness or confusion observed in epileptic patients.

Selected writings

  • De la Paralysie consideée chez les Aliénés, (1826)
  • Traité d'anatomie et de physiologie du système nerveux, (1840)
  • De la folie, considérée sous le point de vue pathologique, philosophique, historique et judiciaire (1845)
  • Traité des maladies inflammatoires du Cerveau, (1859)

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