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PERSPECTIVES IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE Volume II · Number ? · Autumn 1958 AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES LEO LOEB, M.D.* I. Some Personal History The editors of Perspectives in Biology and Medicine have asked me to write an autobiographical article for this journal. I am glad to comply with this request, but, in doing so, I feel that I should include some information not only about what might be considered the external events in my life, the events leading from childhood to old age, but also some data concerning my main interests, the aims in my life, and the more general opinions which I have formed and which have resulted in certain attitudes toward various problems ofliving. I am aware that I must furnish these data within a very restricted range, stating only such views as are of greater significance. I was born on September 21, 1869, in Mayen, a town in Germany situated near the place where the River Mosel enters the Rhine in a hilly, volcanic region. During World War II a great part ofthis town was destroyed by bombs. Here I lived the first six years ofmy life. My mother, who was a delicate, sensitive woman, with a fine singing voice, died when she was thirty-two or thirty-three years ofage and I was three. My father diedat the age offorty-nine from tuberculosis, in the Italian Riviera, where he had gone with the hope ofregaining his health. I was, thus, at the age of six without parents. At the end ofthis period I myselfhad what appeared to be an attack of tuberculosis that caused swelling oflymph glands and an affection ofthe skin. I was considered a delicate child; however, in the course of time I recovered from this attack. * Emeritus Professor of Pathology, Washington University School ofMedicine. Present address: 40 Crestwood Drive, St. Louis 5, Missouri. My only brother, Jacques, ten and a halfyears older than I, then took me to the home ofmy maternal grandfather, who lived in Trier, a city situated on the Mosel, possessing interesting ruins of Roman buildings. We went by train, by way ofCologne, and I still remember this journey. At the home ofmy grandfather there lived also an uncle and an aunt, a younger sister ofmy mother. While I was in Trier, I went to the gymnasium , and I learned to swim in the Mosel River. When I reached the age often, I left Trier and went to Berlin to live in the family of my uncle Harry Breslau and his wife, who was another sister ofmy mother. My uncle was a professor ofmedieval German history at the University of Berlin. He and my aunt had two young children. The older one was Ernst, who later became a professor of zoology at the University of Frankfurt and subsequently at the University of Cologne. When the Nazis began to dominate Germany, he and his family moved to Brazil, where he became professor ofzoology at the University ofSäo Paolo. Helene, die younger child ofmy uncle, who was very young when I was with the family, later married Albert Schweitzer and worked with him in his hospital at Lambarene in French Africa. In Berlin I went to the Askanische Gymnasium, where my brother had studied previously. During my stay in Berlin I suffered from hypertrophic adenoids, and a prominent ear and throat specialist, who had taken a leading part in the development ofthe operation for this condition, removed these glands. I still remember the occasion. He applied neither general nor local anesthesia in this operation but merely scraped the roof of my pharynx a number oftimes with a sharp spoon. The operation was, in a certain sense, a successful one so far as its objective was concerned, but subsequently I suffered for several years from severe headaches. This operation had stillanothereffectwhich Ihadnot expected. I had been an average student in school, but from then on, I became one ofthe best students in the class. While I was in Berlin, my health gradually deteriorated, and after I had been there for about six months, it was thought advisable for me to interrupt my school work and attend to my physical needs. I was then taken toWiesbaden...


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