Johann Reinhard Küstner

Lingua sana et aegra

Lingua sana et aegra


Q.D.B.V. ("quod deus bene vertat" "May God look favourably on this”) Dissertatio inauguralis medica de lingua sana et aegra - “Inagural medical dissertation on the tongue in health and disease”. By Johann Reinhard Küstner, 1716 (from Frankfurt am Main).

At University of Altdorf (Universita Altorfina) (outside Nurnberg, Germany, founded in 1578). Thesis defended on June 25, 1716 at Altdorf University in front of the faculty and the public, Johanes Reinhard Kuestner.

The thesis of 48 pages, appears to be an original work of research, unlike previous dissertationsthat appeared in the 17th century which were “take home assignments” in todays parlance for graduate students attending the course work of a famous professor. Johann Reinhard Kustner, of Frankfurt am Main was a doctoral student in 1716 at University of Altdorf, east of Nurnberg and completing his dissertation on the physiology and pathology of the tongue. His 48-page thesis is divided in sections identified as The Physiology of Tongue (Chapter I, page 4-16, (the nature, cause and symptoms of lingual Pathology - Chapter II, page 26-36) and Therapy (Chapter III, page 36-48). Kuestner reviews the existing literature at the time and identifies Professor Johann Moritz Hoffmann (1653-1727) who supervised Bernhard Matthias Franck (1667–1701)’s dissertation thesis published in 1689 on the subject of taste (De gustu). Additionally, he acknowledges, Lorenz Heister’s work from Altdorff University (1683-1753). He describes, lingual ulcers, motility dysfunctions, infections, taste disorders and the famous case described by Roland, French Court Surgeon about a boy without tongue, 1630, Aglossostomographia.

Kustner’s treatments reflect the habits of the day: use of mercury containing medications and plant-based infusions and gargling. For a ranula, similar to those proposed by 11th century Arab physicians, he recommends surgical removal. He describes treatment for conditions such as atheroma, salivary calculus (surgery), dry mouth (lingus arida, gargling with emollients), minor injuries, ulcers and aphthae (use of Prunella vulgaris - Self Heal - extract).

Editorial note: Andrew I Spielman

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