Bernardino Ramazzini (1633–1714)
Physicians started to identify and study the effects of metals on the central and peripheral nervous systems during the nineteenth century, when the Industrial Revolution caused a widespread exposure to neurotoxins in the western world. In 1805, John Pearson (1758–1826) coined the term “mercurial erethism” in England, while in 1836 the French physician Louis Tanquerel des Planches (1810–1862) used the term “encéphalopathie saturnine” to indicate neuropsychiatric manifestations of lead-intoxication; 20 years later August-Louis Delpech (1818–1880) first described the neuropsychological effects of occupational exposure to carbon disulfide . During the twentieth century, the studies of neurologists, occupational physicians and experimental psychologists contributed to the development of occupational neurotoxicology, as an autonomous discipline.
It is less known that the first observations on the effects of metals on the nervous system can be found in the “De Morbis Artificum Diatriba”...
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Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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