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Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813)

BENJAMIN RUSH (1745-1813) was born in Byberry, Pennsylvania. He received his medical training at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He was one of the most famous and influencial physicians in the American colonies, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His reputation today is lessened by his treatment of bleeding and purging in yellow fever, but his Medical Inquiries and Observations upon Diseases of the Mind (1812) based on his personal observations of mental patients at Pennsylvania Hospital was the first American textbook on psychiatry and remained the only one for 70 years. He noted the role of heredity, injuries and malformation of the brain, diseases of the body, drugs in the production of mental diseases, and advocated humane treatment of the insane.

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