235 - Dr.Hakaru Hashimoto 100 years after

Autor(s): Romolo M. Dorizzi

Issue: RIMeL - IJLaM, Vol. 4, N. 4, 2008 (MAF Servizi srl ed.)

Page(s): 235-241

The timeline available on the American Thyroid Association Website contains the major milestones of the thyroid history from 2700 B.C. to today. One the most relevant date for the clinical laboratorian concens Hakaru Hashimoto. Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, was born in Mie Prefecture in 1881 and entered the Fukuoka Medical School of Kyoto Imperial University in 1903. The first report of “struma lymphomatosa” which investigated four middle aged female patients was published in 1912 in a German surgical journal by Dr. Hashimoto who was 31 years old. After his paper was published Hashimoto left Japan to study in Germany but he returned home in 1916 without having been able to further investigate thyroid pathology because of the outbreak of World War I. In Japan he briefly worked at his Alma Mater and in 1916 he had to take over his family’s private practice. His successful activity came to an unexpected end in 1934 when he developed intestinal typhus and died. Hashimoto’s disease was “re-discovered” in 1931 in the United States and full credit was given to the Japanese physician also if its real importance was understood only in 1956 when Witebsky and Rose and Roitt and Doniach indipendently described anti-thyroglobulin antibodies and their association to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The life and the work of Hakaru Hashimoto reminds us several points true today as a century ago: 1) the importance of the acumen of a single researcher; 2) relevant work can be done also in peripheral centres; 3) it remains difficult to spread medical knowledge outside the Academic circles and the official science language. At the beginning of XX century Germany and Austria were the heart and the brain of medicine and German was its language but twenty years later Great Britain and United States and English assumed these roles. This impaired a timely diffusion of Hashimoto’s discovery.

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