Thomas  Addison 

Adrenal Insufficiency Trajectory

Who was Thomas Addison

Thomas Addison was born in April 1793 in Longbenton, Northumberland, near Newcastle, in the United Kingdom. He was the son of Sarah and Joseph Addison and they were not very influential where they lived. He attended school in the village where he resided and then started at the Royal Free Grammar school in Newcastle. He had learned Latin perfectly during high school, even took notes in Latin and spoke fluently. Thomas Addison's father wanted him to become a lawyer, but instead he started his degree at the University of Edinburgh in 1812 in medical school.

Thomas left Edinburgh, moving to London in 1815 and became a surgeon at Lock's hospital. Thanks to the teachers, Thomas was simply fascinated by diseases in the dermis. This interest that accompanied him until the end of his life, led him to be the first to describe changes in the skin, the change that is typical of what we now call Addison's disease.

Thomas's celebrated career as a physician and researcher is dated 1817. Addison was promoted to assistant physician on January 14, 1824. In 1827, he was called to speak on the topic of homeopathy. In 1835, Thomas was invited to teach Richard Bright in practical medicine, and in 1837 he became a full-fledged physician at Guy's Hospital. In 1840, when Bright retired from the senior lecture, Addison became the only speaker.

He lectured alone until the middle of 1855. At that time, when medical students paid their own fees for certain courses and lectures, they generally looked for the most brilliant professors. Addison was a great professor, so many medical students attended his lectures. Thomas was the first to describe the disease in humans as a syndrome associated with problems in the adrenal glands, also in the middle of 1855. At that time there was no treatment available and everyone who developed the disease died.

Thomas Addison was a doctor, but also a researcher. He wrote "Elements of Medical Practice" together with Richard Bright (with whom he taught) in 1839. In 1855 he wrote about "the constitutional and local effects of adrenal capsule disease", where he describes for the first time about Addison's Disease.

Addison is now known for describing an amazing and wide range of illnesses. Its name is usually mentioned only in medical contexts. Thomas Addison developed depression and suffered a lot, which was one of the reasons why he retired in 1860. Three months later, Thomas committed suicide, more specifically, in Brighton, on June 29, 1860.


Thomas Addison was honored, with a medal, for his progress in Addison's disease.

He is especially known for his work Essay on the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules (1855), where he describes, for the first time, the evil currently known as Addison's Disease . He was thus the first to describe pernicious anemia in detail .

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