Arthur MacNalty

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Arthur Salusbury MacNalty (20 October 1880 – 11 April 1969) KCB MRCS FRCP FRCS was the 8th Chief Medical Officer (the British office equivalent of the Surgeon General of the United States). Arthur MacNalty was also a ground breaking medical scientist. In early career in 1908, he teamed with the Welshman Thomas Lewis (cardiologist) to demonstrate that tracings from then nascent electrocardiography (ECG) could be used as a tool for diagnosing Heart block.[1] This use of electrocardiography to diagnose heart block was the earliest application of ECG technology in cardiology and clinical medicine. He was a pioneer in the modern discipline of public health and in the specialty of preventive medicine. In the 1930s, MacNalty became among the earliest public health authorities, if not the earliest such authority, to publicly warn against the serious medical dangers of fad dieting, or, as it was then known “slimming”, and anti-obesity medications.[2][3] He was particularly concerned with the neurological side effects of the then popular practice of dosing with thyroid extract to lose weight. MacNalty was too a prolific author of acclaimed and still relevant medical and other histories.[4][5][6][7] He is the author of a total 96 books in the fields of medicine and / or history in 154 publications in 3 languages and which are held in at least 2700 known library collections.[8]

Education and career[edit]

Of the long tradition of MacDonlevy/MacNulty physicians of the British Isles, Arthur MacNalty,[9] was born to a physician father F.C. MacNalty MD. Arthur MacNalty was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he was Shute Exhibitioner and took second class in the Oxford Honor School of Physiology (researcher on central nervous system, Dept. of Physiology). From Oxford, he went to University College Hospital, London, where he was Filliter Exhibitioner and as above noted qualified MRCP and LRCP in 1907. MacNalty received his M.D.Oxon (1911) for his dissertation Lyphadenoma with relapsing Pyrexia. After a continued succession of medical and surgical postings at hospitals, he, thereafter, abandoned his course toward specializing as a thoracic physician (the, then, specialty of “chest service”, tuberculosis being still at the time endemic), when called to government service as a public health officer in 1913 (even though solicited to assume this office, MacNalty nonetheless worked in preparation therefore for nearly a year as Assistant Medical Officer and Tuberculosis Officer to Essex County Council, under their progressive County Medical Officer, J. Thresh), and through which public office ranks he rose to appointment as Britain’s Chief Medical Officer by 1935. Sir Arthur served in this position until his retirement in 1941. As a physician, Sir Arthur became a noted authority not only on communicable diseases and in the field of public health, but, also, on endocrine system based neurological disorders. He was president of both the Royal Society of Medicine’s Epidemiology and its Medical History sections. In his retirement, MacNalty continued his service to his country during the Second World War as Chairman of the Committees on Hospital and Nursing Provision of the Committee of Imperial Defence, and by organizing the medical administration of the Emergency Medical Services and the Evacuation Scheme of the Ministry of Health.[10][11][12] The U.K.'s Public Health Laboratory Service developed from a wartime emergency service on the basis of a survey initiated by MacNalty. It was also MacNalty, who in a 1939 paper solicited by Oxford University advocated for the establishment of a pioneering preventive and social medicine department at the University and which lead to the establishment of the first Chair of Social medicine there by 1943.[13]

Some medical papers[edit]

  • "A note on the simultaneous occurrence of sinus and ventricular rhythm in man", Lewis T, Macnalty AS, J Physiol. 1908 Dec 15;37(5-6):445-58
  • MacNalty "Thoracic Aneurysm in a Boy", Proc R Soc Med. 1910;3(Clin Sect):35-7
  • MacNalty "An Obscure Disease, Encephalitis Lethargica" (delivered to Health Ministry 1918)
  • "Report on Artificial Pneumothorax" (Medical Research Council. Special Report Series. no. 67.) by Lancelot Stephen Topham Burrell and Arthur Salusbury Macnalty (1922), ASIN: B000WR7DKG
  • MacNalty "A Lecture on Encephalitis Lethargica in England", Br Med J. 1926 Jun 26;1(3416):1073-6
  • MacNalty, Milroy Lectures on "Epidemic Diseases of the Central Nervous System" (delivered to the Royal College of Physicians 1927 and, also, published in bound volume that year as The Epidemic Diseases of the Central Nervous System, 194 pages, publisher, Faber & Gwyer, 1927, ASIN: B0006AK0OK)
  • MacNalty "Lymphadenoma with Relapsing Pyrexia" (delivered to the Ministry of Health 1928 and also published in bound volume as An investigation of lymphadenoma with relapsing pyrexia, 86 pages, publisher, H.M. Stationery, (1928), ASIN: B0008B2ZPE)
  • "The Intradermal Tuberculin Test in Cattle, Collected results of experience" (Medical Research Council. Special Report Series No. 122, by James Basil Buxton and Arthur Salusbury Macnalty (1928), ASIN: B000WR2KJK
  • MacNalty "Comprehensive Attack on Pulmonary Tuberculosis", Br Med J. 1943 Nov 13;2(4323):599-601
  • MacNalty "Indigenous Malaria in Great Britain", Nature, Vol. 151, April 17, 1943, pp 440–442
  • MacNalty "The problem of tuberculosis; prevention and treatment", Health Soc Welf. 1945-1946:67-74
  • MacNalty, FitzPatrick Lectures on the "History of State Medicine in England" (delivered to the Royal College of Physicians from 1946-1947), being also published in bound volume as The history of state medicine in England, being the Fitzpatrick Lectures of the Royal College of Physicians of London for the years 1946 and 1947 (Royal Society of Public Health and Public Hygiene, 1948, ASIN: B0007JEOJC, 82 pages )
  • "The future of the tuberculosis and chest service in Great Britain", ELLMAN P, MACNALTY AS, J R Inst Public Health,1954 Aug;17(8):217-34
  • MacNalty "Ah, my old friend Dr. Harvey", British Medical Journal, 1958
  • MacNalty "Alexander Pope: Poet and Cripple", 1688-1744, Proc R Soc Med. 1958 August; 51(8): 601–604, available for free reading and printing online at [2].
  • MacNalty "William Harvey: His influence on public health" Royal Society of Health Journal ASIN: B0007KBIHC (1957)
  • MacNalty "The Royal Society and its medical presidents", British Medical Journal, 1960
  • MacNalty "Sir Joseph Olliffe MD FRCP" British Medical Journal (1965)
  • MacNalty "History of medicine at Yale" British Medical Journal (1962)
  • MacNalty "Florence Nightingale's writings" British Medical Journal (1962)
  • MacNalty "Dr. Timothie Bright" British Medical Journal (1963)
  • MacNalty "Pathology in North America" British Medical Journal (1963)
  • MacNalty "Osler, the medical historian" Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1962)
  • MacNalty "Great teachers of surgery in the past: Sir Victor Horsley (1857-1916)" British journal of surgery [(1964)
  • MacNalty "Frederick Parkes Weber: 8 May 1863-2 June 1962" Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology (1963)
  • MacNalty "History of the College Club of the Royal College of Physicians of London", Volume 2, 1926 to 1961 (1964)
  • MacNalty "The Mirage of Alcohol. An address delivered at the annual meeting of the Temperance Collegiate Association" (1946)

Some medical texts and lexicons[edit]

  • MacNalty, Editor in Chief of Butterworth’s Medical Dictionary (1965–1978 London, Butterworth, ASIN: B004V71DWC)
  • McNalty wrote preface to The Endocrine Glands: (xii) diseases of the nervous system by L. E. Houghton, London, William Hetoemann (Medical books) Ltd., 1944, 674 pages, Illustrated
  • Epidemics in schools : an analysis of the data collected during the first five years of a statistical inquiry by the School epidemics committee by Medical Research Council (Great Britain) (1938)
  • Medical services in war: the principal medical lessons of the Second World War; based on the official medical histories of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India by A. S. MacNalty (5 editions published between 1968 and 1969, HMSO, ASIN: B0018BA8MU)
  • MacNalty, Editor in Chief of The Official Medical History of the Second World War in 21 volumes
  • MacNalty, Editor in Chief of The British Medical Dictionary (4 editions 1961–63, 1682 pages, The Caxton Publishing Company, ASIN: B001582PCC)
  • The civilian health and medical services by A. S. MacNalty (H.M.S.O. 1953, 441 pages)
  • The preservation of eyesight by A. S. MacNalty (3 editions Bristol, John Wright, 1958, ASIN: B000IUE0HG)
  • The reform of the public health services by A. S. MacNalty (4 editions published between 1943 and 1944, Oxford University Press, ASIN: B0017B558I)

Some medical histories[edit]

  • Henry VIII, a difficult patient, ( 2 editions 1952, ASIN: B0006ATAK0) by A. S. MacNalty
  • Medicine in the time of Queen Elizabeth, the First, 1185 pages, ASIN: B0007KB0NY by A. S. MacNalty
  • Sir Thomas More as public health reformer, Printed in Great Britain by Fisher, Knight and Co., Ltd., St. Albans (1946), ASIN: B0007KB0O8 by A. S. MacNalty
  • Sir Walter Scott: the wounded falcon, (3 editions 1969) by A. S. MacNalty
  • Sir William Collins, surgeon and statesman, Chadwick Trust (1949), ASIN: B0007JMUZC by A. S. MacNalty
  • The influence of medical poets on English poetry, 208 pages, ASIN: B0007KB0NO by A. S. MacNalty
  • The Sovereign and the Surgeon,(1953) ASIN: B0007KB0OI by A. S. MacNalty

Some other histories[edit]

  • A biography of Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson (2 editions published in 1950) by A.S. MacNalty
  • Elizabeth Tudor – the lonely queen (4 editions published between 1954 and 1971, London, Johnson, ASIN: B002KDQMGG) by A.S. MacNalty
  • Mary, Queen of Scots, the daughter of debate (5 editions published between 1960 and 1971, London, Christopher Johnson, ASIN: 0853075875) by A.S. MacNalty
  • Princes in the Tower, and other royal mysteries (1955, London, Christopher Johnson) by A.S. MacNalty
  • The Odes of Horace; Books I and II (1955) by Quintus Horatius Flaccus, translated by Arthur Salusbury Macnalty, ASIN: B0010ZR5PC
  • The Mystery of Captain Burnaby (1934) ASIN: B0014M00OE by A.S. MacNalty
  • The Three Churchills (London 2 editions 1949, Essential Books Ltd, ASIN: B000KYI4DG) by A.S. MacNalty
  • Winston Spencer Churchill, Servant of Crown and Commonwealth. A Tribute By Various Hands presented to Him on His Eightieth Birthday (1954, London, Cassell & Company), Sir James Marchant ( Ed. ), contributors of impressions from personal acquaintance include Sir Arthur Salusbury MacNalty

See also[edit]

Barber's pole at footnote 3


  1. ^ "A note on the simultaneous occurrence of sinus and ventricular rhythm in man", Lewis T, Macnalty AS, J Physiol. 1908 Dec 15;37(5-6):445-58
  2. ^ "Dangers of Slimming", Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, The Examiner, Friday, January 21, 1938, p 14, which states in postscript “However, the sex which for many years injured its health by tight lacing is not likely to be deterred from slimming by such considerations, The dictates of fashion will be paramount." Sir Arthur was particularly concerned with the neurological side effects of the then popular practice of dosing with thyroid extract to lose weight and, also, use of the then much vaunted weight loss drug dinitrophenol, which his report found killed as many patients as it reduced in girth, as well as, the compromise of the malnourished’s immune system and their consequent, often, inability to resist infectious diseases like the then endemic tuberculosis (archaic “epidemics of consumption”).
  3. ^ See, also, "Deaths reduced as sliiming passes", Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 17, 1937, p 10.
  4. ^ "Henry VIII (king of England), ARTICLE, Additional Reading", Encyclopædia Britannica Online, “Arthur Salusbury MacNalty, Henry VIII: The Difficult Patient (1952), remains the best introduction to the medical history (which had important political consequences).”
  5. '^ See, also, Encyclopædia Britannicas Guide to Shakespeare
  6. ^ See also, Sir Arthur Salusbury MacNalty in Henry VIII. A Difficult Patient, "The Diagnosis of King Henry's 'Sore Legge'", points out that a syphilitic ulcer would have been recognised by Tudor surgeons and treated with mercury, but mercury was not prescribed for the King." [1]
  7. ^ "Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542-1587), Annotated Bibliography"[permanent dead link], King's College, History Department, Women's History, "MacNalty, Arthur Salusbury, Sir. Mary, Queen of Scots, Daughter of Debate. London: Christopher Johnson, 1960. This book provides a more sympathetic view of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. Its author attempts to explain Mary Stuart's actions as negative side effects of her many debilitating ailments. The author's belief is that Mary Stuart was not a cruel, conspiring, and murderous woman, but was merely a victim of bad circumstances. The opinion of the author allows the reader to have another option to choose from on Mary Stuart's character. This source allows the researcher to realize that there is another argument for Mary's behavior."
  8. ^ "MacNalty, Arthur Salusbury Sir 1880-1969", WorldCat, also, base source for hereafter individually listed works by MacNalty
  9. ^ Elsdon C. Smith, New Dictionary of American Family Names, New York: Harper & Row ©1956, 1973, pp 330, 366, 387, 375, MacNalty is a variant spelling of MacNulty
  10. ^ Sir Weldon Dalrymple-Champneys, "Arthur Salusbury (Sir) MacNalty", Royal College of Physicians, Lives of Fellows, Munk’s Roll, Vol. VI (1966-1975), p. 321
  11. ^ Who's Who, 92nd edition 1940, London Adam & Charles Black, U.S.A. New York Macmillan Company, p. 2056
  12. ^ British Biographical Index, D. Bank & A. Esposito ed., London K.G. Saur, 1990, ISBN 0-86291-393-4, Vol. 3 J-O, p. 1209, corresponding microfiche 727-217, citing to The Medical Who's Who 1914
  13. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, HCG Matthew & Brian Harrison ed., 2004, Oxford, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-861411X (set of 60 volumes), Vol. 35, pp. 934-935
  • Sheard, Sally (2006), The Nation's Doctor, London: The Nuffield Trust 

External links[edit]