Herman Bernhard Lundborg

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Herman Bernhard Lundborg.

Herman Bernhard Lundborg (April 7, 1868, Väse in Värmland, Sweden - May 9, 1943, Östhammar in Uppland, Sweden) was a Swedish physician. He graduated in medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in 1895, and received his doctorate at the Uppsala University in 1903. He also habilitated there that year for psychiatry and neurology, and in 1915 for racial biology.[1]

For his doctoral dissertation, Lundborg researched one of the genetic progressive myoclonus epilepsies first described by Heinrich Unverricht in 1891. Besides of given an account of the disease, he traced an affected family back to the 18th century, an analysis unique for that time.[1] He concluded that the family had genetically degenerated because of "unwise marriages".[2] The study has been described as "of considerable historic interest in human genetics".[3] Over the years, the form of epilepsy became known as the Unverricht-Lundborg disease.

He was on the editorial board of the Hereditas journal, founded 1920, with the scope on genetics.[4]

Lundborg was extremely negative towards the Jewish people, and strongly involved with the ideology of racial hygiene.[1] In the beginning of the 20th century, the idea that eugenics could somehow improve society in general strongly evolved. In 1922, Sweden became the first country in the world to establish a eugenic governmental agency, the State Institute of Racial Biology, of which Lundborg was appointed as the head. Under his leadership, the institute began gathering copious statistics and photographs to map the racial make-up of about 100,000 Swedish people.[5] This research later became one of the foundations under a eugenic program of the Swedish government, which consisted of both voluntary and involuntary sterilization of persons with negative genetic characteristics. The program was started in 1935 and would last until 1975.[6]