Historical Tidbit: Paracelsus (1493-1541). A Man for All Seasons
Submitted by Alan D. Rogol, M.D., Ph.D.
Paracelsus, born Philippus Aureolus Theophrastue Bombastus von Hoenheim was a Swiss chemist and physician known to pharmacologists for the concept (translated) that all substances are poisons; there is none that is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy. For endocrinology he recognized a connection among cretinism, endemic goiter and congenital developmental delay (called idiocy in his time). Goiter was a particular problem in the Alpine region with depictions of goiter and cretinism in art and sculpture. Even Julius Caesar noted that the Gauls (from the region in western Europe) had large necks (Medvei, A History of Endocrinology Lancaster MTP Press, 1982).