Erik Adolf von Willebrand
The son of a district engineer in Vaasa, Willebrand qualified as a physician at the University of Helsinki. He took his first degree in 1896, then completed his doctoral thesis on the changes occurring in blood after significant blood loss. For the remainder of his professional career, the properties of blood and its coagulation continued to be the focus of his interest.
Von Willebrand was the first to describe the blood coagulation disorder later named for him, von Willebrand disease. This condition first caught his interest in the case of a five-year-old girl from Åland whose family had an extensive history of bleeding. Mapping her family history, von Willebrand found that 23 of the girl's 66 family members were affected, and also that the disease was more common among the women than among the men.
In his personal life, von Willebrand was described as very modest. He also published two papers concerning the use of hot air (such as the sauna) as a form of medical treatment.
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