Politzer’s Otology Clinic and the Discovery of the Caloric Test

Robert W. Baloh

in Vertigo

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print October 2016 | ISBN: 9780190600129
Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780190600150 | DOI:
Politzer’s Otology Clinic and the Discovery of the Caloric Test

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Robert Bárány began his training in Adam Politzer’s Otology Clinic at the University of Vienna in October 1903 after completing his surgical training at the Vienna General Hospital. During his training, Bárány became friends with Gustav Alexander, who already had been offered a position in Politzer’s clinic. Alexander stimulated Bárány’s interest in the vestibular apparatus of the inner ear and was influential in helping Bárány obtain his appointment in Politzer’s clinic. It was well known in Politzer’s clinic that one had to be extremely careful regarding the temperature of the water used to irrigate the ear canals in removing cerumen, otherwise the patient would become dizzy. Bárány discovered the mechanism of this caloric reaction and eventually received the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Bárány’s findings were considered to be pivotal in clinical otology. His colleagues at the clinic were less magnanimous in their praise of Bárány’s accomplishments and questioned his integrity.

Chapter.  2722 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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