Theodor Kocher (25 August 1841 to 27 July 1917) and cachexia strumipriva
Submitted by Alan D. Rogol, MD, Ph.D
Cachexia strumipriva, a condition having the signs and symptoms of severe hypothyroidism resulting from the complete loss of thyroid function was noted in a remarkable lecture by the Swiss surgeon Theodor Kocher to The German Society of Surgery in 1883, and subsequently published (Arch Klin Chiurg 1883; 29:254). He noted from the personal re-examination of his patients who underwent thyroid surgery that those who had total thyroidectomy developed cachexia strumipriva and those who had partial thyroidectomy did not. He suggested that part of the gland remain intact to prevent this complication. In 1909 he became the first surgeon to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this and other work on the thyroid.