King's College London
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Mind Matters: neuroscience and psychiatry

Kinnier Wilson

Normal volitional facial movements (left) and mimic palsy of left side of face in laughing (right), from Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson's Modern problems in neurology. London: Edward Arnold, 1928 [ KCSMD Historical Collection RC346 WIL]Normal volitional facial movements (left) and mimic palsy of left side of face in laughing (right), from Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson's Modern problems in neurology. London: Edward Arnold, 1928 [ KCSMD Historical Collection RC346 WIL]After receiving his medical education at the University of Edinburgh and at the Bicêtre in Paris (then regarded as the centre of excellence in neurology), Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson (1874-1937) became a resident medical officer at the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic at Queen Square, London, in 1904.

In 1919 he was appointed junior neurologist, and in 1928, senior neurologist, at King’s College Hospital.

In 1912 Kinnier Wilson won the gold medal of the University of Edinburgh for a doctoral thesis on the disease which became known as hepato-lenticular degeneration, a chronic disease of the brain and liver with progressive neurological dysfunction, due to a disturbance of copper metabolism. On his insistence, this has become known as ‘Wilson’s disease’.

Wilson’s other researches focused on epilepsy, narcolepsy, aphasia, apraxia and the field of pathological laughing and crying, and their counterpart, paralysis of emotional facial movements. An example of the last is shown in this illustration.

This copy was owned by Una Lucy Fielding (1888-1969), lecturer in neuroanatomy and physical anthropology at University College London.

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