Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson
Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson (December 6, 1878 – May 12, 1937) was a British neurologist
A neurologist is a physician who specializes in neurology, and is trained to investigate, or diagnose and treat neurological disorders.Neurology is the medical specialty related to the human nervous system. The nervous system encompasses the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. A specialist...

 who was the first to describe Wilson's disease
Wilson's disease
Wilson's disease or hepatolenticular degeneration is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder in which copper accumulates in tissues; this manifests as neurological or psychiatric symptoms and liver disease...



He was born in Cedarville, New Jersey
Cedarville, New Jersey
Cedarville is a census-designated place and unincorporated area located within Lawrence Township, in Cumberland County, New Jersey. It is part of the Vineland-Milleville-Bridgeton Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area for statistical purposes...

. A year after Wilson's birth, his father died and his family moved to Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. In 1902 he graduated with an M.B. from the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, and the following year received his B.Sc. in physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

. Afterwards he went to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where he continued his studies with Pierre Marie (1853–1940) and Joseph Babinski
Joseph Babinski
Joseph Jules François Félix Babinski was a French neurologist of Polish descent. He is best known for his 1896 description of the Babinski sign, a pathological plantar reflex indicative of corticospinal tract damage....

 (1857–1932). In 1905 he moved to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, where he worked as registrar and pathologist at the National Hospital, Queens Square
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery is a neurological hospital in London, United Kingdom and part of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust...

. Later he was appointed professor of neurology at King's College Hospital
King's College Hospital
King's College Hospital is an acute care facility in the London Borough of Lambeth, referred to locally and by staff simply as "King's" or abbreviated internally to "KCH"...


Wilson specialized in clinical neurology, and made important contributions in his studies of epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

, narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder, or dyssomnia, characterized by excessive sleepiness and sleep attacks at inappropriate times, such as while at work. People with narcolepsy often experience disturbed nocturnal sleep and an abnormal daytime sleep pattern, which often is confused with insomnia...

, apraxia
Apraxia is a disorder caused by damage to specific areas of the cerebrum. Apraxia is characterized by loss of the ability to execute or carry out learned purposeful movements, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements...

 and speech disorders. He described hepatolenticular degeneration in his Gold Medal winning M.D. dissertation of 1912 titled "Progressive lenticular degeneration". He was honored for his research of the disease, and afterwards the disorder became known as "Wilson's disease
Wilson's disease
Wilson's disease or hepatolenticular degeneration is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder in which copper accumulates in tissues; this manifests as neurological or psychiatric symptoms and liver disease...

". In this treatise he is credited for introducing the term "extrapyramidal
Extrapyramidal system
In human anatomy, the extrapyramidal system is a neural network located in the brain that is part of the motor system involved in the coordination of movement. The system is called "extrapyramidal" to distinguish it from the tracts of the motor cortex that reach their targets by traveling through...

" into neurological medicine.

Wilson published several influential works in the field of neurology, and in 1920 was founding editor of the Journal of Neurology and Psychopathology, which was later to become the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. In 1940 his two-volume work titled "Neurology" was published posthumously. Just before his death, Sir Charles Sherrington (1857–1952) had been working with Dr Edgar Adrian
Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian
Edgar Douglas Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian OM PRS was a British electrophysiologist and recipient of the 1932 Nobel Prize for Physiology, won jointly with Sir Charles Sherrington for work on the function of neurons....

 (later Lord Adrian of Cambridge, 1889-1977) on getting him elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...


He is the father of British Assyriologist James Kinnier Wilson
James Kinnier Wilson
James Kinnier Wilson is a British Assyriologist, was Eric Yarrow Lecturer, from 1955 until 1989, and is Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge.-Life:...


External links

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