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Experiences sur L'Electricité, avec quelque Conjectures sur la Cause de ses Effets. - [THE FIRST USE OF ELECTROCHOCK THERAPY]


Geneve, Barrilot & Fils, 1748. 8vo. Contemporary full calf binding with gilt crowned monogram to centre of boards. Five raised bands and gilt title-label to richly gilt spine. All edges of boards gilt. A bit of wear to extremities. Very light browning to the first leaves and to the plates, the edges of which are also a bit bent, otherwise fine. Printed on good paper. A very nice copy indeed. XII,304 pp., 1 folded table and 3 folded engraved plates.

First edition of this groundbreaking work, which describes for the first time the use of electricity for treatment of paralysis, laying the foundation for the use of electricity in medicine and for what was later to be known as electroconvulsive therapy. By applying electroshocks with a Leyden jar, Jallabert discovered that he could stimulate muscle regeneration and blood increase in a paralyzed limb, describing this breakthrough discovery for the first time in the present work. "After a succint account of what is known about electricity, Jallabert describes his observatuions on how electricity can stimulate muscles and reverse paralysis. Together with Guiot, a leading surgeon, he examines a locksmith called Nogues, and finds him paralysed on the right side as a result of an accidental blow to the head fourteen years before. The man could not move his arm, he had no sensation in it and he had no control over the fingers in his hand. Holding a Leiden jar in his healthy hand and touching it with his paralysed hand, Noguesd was treated with electric shocks for over an hour every day. Within two weeks an astonishing improvement in his condition was noted and three months later the patient had regained full use of his arm." (Gedeon, Science and technology in Medicine, No. 19)."This comprehensive work embraces the knowledge of the time on electric phenomena and theory; it has been frequently quoted. The author considers electricity to be a subtile, elastic fluid." (Wheeler Gift No 349). Wellcome IV:342 (but only having the second edition, 1749); Gedeon:19.

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