Robert Carswell (1793-1857)

The first important step toward a recognition of the pathology of MS came with a discovery by Robert Carswell, a pathologist of the mid 19th century (4). During a postmortem, Carswell found strange lesions in the spinal cord of an unfortunate subject. Unaware of their cause, he meticulously recorded their gross appearance (4).

Carswell's handpainted illustration of the lesions is seen here in the slide. It appeared, together with descriptive text, in his Atlas of Pathology, published in 1838 (4).

Within the text, Carswell described the pathology as:
"a peculiar diseased state of the chord and pons Varolii, accompanied with atrophy of the discoloured portions" (4).

Despite his major contribution in describing the pathology of MS lesions, Carswell did not record any clinical associations with his observations. The clinical symptoms of MS were not linked to the 'diseased' state Carswell described until much later.

==> Jean Cruveilhier (1791-1874)

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