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File:Jean marc gaspard itard 1775 hi.jpg

Jean Itard

Jean Marc Gaspard Itard (April 24, 1774, Oraison, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence – July 5, 1838) was a French physician born in Provence.[1]

Without a university education and working at a bank, he was forced to enter the army during the French Revolution but presented himself as a physician at that time.[2] After successfully working as an assistant physician at a military hospital in Soliers, in 1796 he was appointed deputy surgeon at Val-de-Grâce (Hôpital d'instruction des armées du Val-de-Grâce) military hospital in Paris, and in 1799 physician at the National Institution for Deaf Mutes.

In Paris, Itard was a student of distinguished physician René Laennec, inventor of the stethoscope (in 1816). Laennec was a few years younger but had a formal education at the university at Nantes and later became a lecturer and professor of medicine at the Collège de France. Itard described pneumothorax in 1803; Laennec would provide a fuller description of the condition in 1819.[3]

In 1821, Itard published a major work on otology, describing the results of his medical research based on over 170 detailed cases. He is credited with the invention of the Eustachian catheter, which is sometimes known as "Itard's catheter". Numbness in the tympanic membrane during otosclerosis is referred to as the "Itard-Cholewa Symptom".[2]

In 1825, as the head physician at L'Institution Royale des sourds-muets, Itard was credited with describing the first case of Tourette syndrome in Marquise de Dampierre, a woman of nobility.[4]

He was also an educator of deaf children, and tried his educational theories in the celebrated case of feral child] Victor of Aveyron. However, he was disappointed with the progress he made with Victor.[2]



  1. Jean Itard, Mémoire et Rapport sur Victor de l'Aveyron (1801 et 1806) [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jean Marc Gaspard Itard. Accessed 6 March 2010.
  3. Henry M, Arnold T, Harvey J (May 2003). BTS guidelines for the management of spontaneous pneumothorax. Thorax 58 Suppl 2: ii39–52.
  4. Teive HA, Chien HF, Munhoz RP, Barbosa ER (December 2008). Charcot's contribution to the study of Tourette's syndrome. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 66 (4): 918–21.

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