Friedrich Meggendorfer

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Friedrich Meggendorfer
Born 7 June 1880
Bad Aibling
Died 12 February 1953
Nationality German
Known for First describer of familial Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease
Scientific career
Fields Psychiatry and Neurology
Institutions Friedrichsberg Psychiatric Hospital, University of Erlangen
Influences Adolf Bingel, Carl Riebeling
Influenced Emil Kraepelin, Max Nonne

Friedrich Meggendorfer (June 7, 1880 – February 12, 1953) was a German psychiatrist and neurologist.


Born in Bad Aibling, Bavaria, he was intended to take over the local colonial goods store of his ancestors. He enjoyed an excellent international education aimed at preparing him for this role. However, his life's goal has always been to become a physician, and finally, he had persuaded his father to agree and to sponsor medical studies[1]. During World War I he was stationed in Turkey as a medical assistant of the German imperial navy. There he learnt much about the Turkish culture and was able to translate ancient Arabic medical works into German language and the bible to Turkish, an effort that was lost later, when he narrowly escaped a sinking submarine.[2]

Scientific Work[edit]

Meggendorfer was an assistant to Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) in Munich and Max Nonne (1861-1959) in Hamburg, and later worked at the Friedrichsberg Psychiatric Hospital in Hamburg. From 1934 to 1945 he was a professor and director of the psychiatric department at Erlangen.

His scientific activities where very versatile ranging from moral insanity and dementia to epilepsy, progressive paralysis and Huntington's disease.[2] Additionally, he was a recognized expert in forensic psychiatry.

Meggendorfer was a pioneer in electroconvulsive therapy and introduced this treatment method in Germany in 1939.

Secondary psychosis was an additional focus of his scientific work. As early as 1916 he described neurologic and psychiatric sequelae of pituitary neoplasms.[3]

In 1930 he provided an early description of familial Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in the "Backer family" of northern Germany. The case had already been reported in 1924 by Kirschbaum, but it was Meggendorfer who showed that the subject described by Kirschbaum was a member of a large kindred.[4][5]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Gerichtliche Psychiatrie (Judicial Psychiatry), Carl Heymanns Verlag, Berlin 1931. DNB ID 58068489X
  • Allgemeine und spezielle Therapie der Geistes- und Nervenkrankheiten (General and Special Treatment of Mental and Neurological Health), Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 1950, DNB ID 453283039


  1. ^ Braun, Birgit (2017). Friedrich Meggendorfer - Person und Ethik eines Psychiaters im Nationalsozialismus (in German). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag: Titel. ISBN 978-3-515-11964-1. 
  2. ^ a b C. Riemeling. Professor Dr. Friedrich Meggendorfer. 7. 6. 1880–12. 2. 1953. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Nervenheilkunde. Volume 170, Number 1, I-II, DOI 10.1007/BF00218433, PMID 13095118
  3. ^ Meggendorfer F: Über Vortäuschung verschiedener Nervenkrankheiten durch Hypophysentumoren. Deutsche Zeitschrift f Nervenheilkunde 1916, 55(1-3):1-28. doi:10.1007/BF01760113
  4. ^ Meggendorfer F. Klinische und genealogische Beobachtungen bei einem Fall von spastischer Pseudokosklerose Jakobs. Z Neurol Psychiatry 1930; 128: 337–41. doi:10.1007/BF02864269
  5. ^ Gambetti P, Kong Q, Zou W, Parchi P, Chen SG. Sporadic and familial CJD: classification and characterisation. Br Med Bull. 2003;66:213-39. doi:10.1093/bmb/66.1.213. PMID 14522861


  • The original version of this article is based on a translation of an article from the Polish Wikipedia.
  • Oxford Journals Familial prion diseases: Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and fatal insomnia
  • F. Flugel. In memoriam Friedrich Meggendorfer. Med Monatsschr. 1953 Sep;7(9):614-5.PMID 13119344

External links[edit]