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FULLER ALBRIGHT: THE ENDOCRINOLOGISTS' CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGIST JOHN EAGER HOWARD* An attempt to assess the impact of Fuller Albright on clinical medicine, and particularly clinical endocrinology, becomes a labor of love, for he was one of my closest friends, and ofttimes we collaborated in investigative efforts. Thus a favorable bias is inevitably introduced, but it is hoped that from succeeding remarks the encomiums will be seen to be richly deserved. Dr. Albright was born of distinguished parentage; he was the middle of his mother's five children, but he also had four older half brothers and a half sister. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, after which he became a medical house officer at Massachusetts General Hospital. Here he was met by two fortunate circumstances which enormously influenced his career. The first was exposure to Dr. Joseph Aub, who had laid the foundation for enlightenment in the field of calcium metabolism and bone physiology. Together with Dr. Walter Bauer their names appeared on an article in 1934 inJAMA [1] which described the clinical picture of hyperparathyroidism, a description not yet surpassed. This exposure created a lifelong interest in the parathyroids and metabolic bone disorders, in which field he became the acknowledged past master and doyen. The other fortunate circumstance during his house officer days at Massachusetts General was a friendship established with Dr. Read Ellsworth, who became, in his short life, Albright's closest friend and collaborator. In my opinion Ellsworth's brilliant mind was very important in guiding Albright's investigative efforts in those formative years. After his term of house officership at Massachusetts General, Albright spent a year abroad, mostly in Vienna where he came under the influence of that great skeletal pathologist, Dr. J. Erdheim. For the rest of his life his admiration for and acknowledgment ofhis intellectual debt to Erdheim were constantly expressed. After the year in Europe, Ellsworth, ?Professor emeritus of medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.© 1981 by The University of Chicago. 0031-5982/81/2403-0226$01.00 374 I John EagerHoward · FullerAlbright who was a graduate of Johns Hopkins and who had returned there as resident in medicine, persuaded Albright to apply for a year as assistant resident under Dr. Longcope, and he was accepted. It was here that I came to know these two eager young investigators. Because I lived next door to William L. Marbury,Jr., who afterward became head of Harvard University's Corporation, we met at a Sunday night supper party, which the Marbury family frequently gave for their children's friends. Among their guests were Albright and Ellsworth, who were invited there by Dr. Thomas Harrold, then resident in gynecology at Hopkins, who had married Silvine Marbury. For some reason Ellsworth and Albright accepted me, then a fourth-year medical student, as their workhorse, and a more strenuous pair of masters never existed. I was assigned all sorts of menial tasks, but especially I recall most vividly having to get up in the middle of the night to attend the first patient diagnosed as having idiopathic hypoparathyroidism [2]. This wretched Italian adolescent had repeated episodes of tetany. Though told to avoid strenuous exercise which promoted his tetany, he persisted in playing basketball during evening hours and would then arrive in the emergency room with flagrant carpopedal spasm. I would be called to minister to him, and the only way we then had to bring him out of his attack and prevent seizures was the use of intravenous calcium chloride. This material is highly corrosive, and if the least bit gets outside the vein, it will cause tissue necrosis. It was a strenuous life, but those two imaginative and enthusiastic young investigators permitted me to participate in their experimental thoughts, and the advantages of that strenuous period in my life far outweighed the disadvantages. During his year at Johns Hopkins, Albright presented a case report and widely reviewed the literature on "The Syndrome Produced by Aneurysm at or near theJunction of the Internal Carotid Artery and the Circle of Willis" [3]—a subject remote from his usual interests. Albright then returned to Massachusetts General, where he spent the rest of his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 374-381
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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