At age 72, Dr.Charles E.Brown-Sequard was feeling the effects of his age. He was a celebrated French neurologist, whose many accomplishments included the founding of three medical journals and publishing over 500 medical journal articles. His work related to the physiology of the spinal cord set new precedents in medicine, and a disorder of the spinal cord related to severe injury is now known as the Brown-Sequard syndrome. He was also an inveterate self-experimenter who would today be referred to as an "out of the box" thinker. To understand the nature of gastric secretions, he once swallowed a sponge attached to a string. He then analyzed the contents of the gastric substance on the sponge to try and figure out what these secretions contained. An experiment he did in 1856, in which removal of the adrenal glands led to death, made him think that there were mysterious and unidentified secretions produced by glands that could affect health and vigor. He especially believed in the existence of a "male factor" that provided strength and vigor to younger men but appeared to decline with age. To test his theory about the existence of such a male factor, Brown-Sequard ground up the testes of both dogs and guinea pigs and made it into an extract. He then injected this extract into himself.
He reported his results to a medical meeting in 1889. "I regained at least all the strength that I possessed a good many years ago," noted Brown-Sequard in his address to the medical meeting. He also reported that his limbs showed a significant strength gain, and his case of constipation had been eliminated. His time in the lab, which was limited to only 30 minutes, now increased to 3 hours on average. He even reported that the power of his urinal function has also increased considerably, likely due to increased bladder tone. But these effects didn't just work on himself. He also reported that extracts of rabbit and guinea pig testes were administered to three other men, ages 54, 56, and 68, all of whom also showed similar improvements in health and vigor. In contrast, the injection of water in two other men had shown no effect. Brown-Sequard's presentation was a sensation, leading to the rise of organotherapy, or the use of injected extracts of various animal glands. Eventually, the practice fell into disrepute, but Brown-Sequard's crude experiments started the proverbial ball (or testicles) rolling, which led to the true science of endocrinology, or the study of hormones. The first of such actual isolated hormones was insulin, discovered in 1921. These days, Brown-Sequard is often referred to as the "father of endocrinology."
In 1999, a group of pathologists, suspicious of Brown-Sequard's . . .