Pre 1800, — September 8, 2009 12:37 — 0 Comments

Dr Samuel Black

There is a plaque high on the wall of a solicitor’s building in Marcus Square which commemorates one Doctor Samuel Black, pioneer cardiologist who resided at that address and practiced there in the early nineteenth century.

Samuel Black, who was born here in County Down graduated as a doctor of medicine from Edinburgh University in 1786. He resided and practiced in Dublin for a short while before settling permanently at this address.


Black’s main contribution to medical science was his analysis and diagnosis of angina pectoris. Heart disease was then (and before and since) one of the greatest killers of men (and women) in these islands. 


Black investigated the categories of people who were most (and least) subject to heart disease, and thus contributed to the study of causes and exacerbating conditions : most at risk, he correctly concluded were people under stress, the obese and over-eaters: women were less likely to suffer and also the poor (hardly then is a position to over-eat!) and foot soldiers (a group unlikely to be under-exercised!).


Black’s first published paper (1795) reflects on the post-mortem examination of angina patients, which reveals ‘ossification of the arteries of the heart’ ( a condition now classified as arteriosclerosis). 


In 1817 there was a typhus epidemic in Newry, with which he had to deal but he also produced a paper on the disease.


Black also carried out research in the fields of neurology, diabetes and public health – all, incidentally of primary modern concern even in the third millennium.


Dr Black died in 1832.

... Newry seized 1641 …

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