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Ignacio María Alvarado

Lifespan: (1829 – 1904)


Ignacio Alvarado (1829-1904) was a doctor who won a place as prosector in the School of Medicine whilst being a student. He collaborated with his teacher Master Rafael Lucio in a famous study on leprosy. On the death of Manuel Carpio in 1861 he took over the Chair of Physiology to which he brought the necessary experience acquired at the School of Veterinary Medicine where he had acquired followers amongst whom was Gabino Barreda. He abandoned his teaching to follow Benito Juárez even though the Empire respected him. During this period he never attended class and always acted as professor in absentia and only with the Republican Victory did he reinstate his classes (1867-1876).

He collaborated on the preparation of the Law of Teaching in 1867. He was schooled in Comptean positivism and preoccupied with the question of intellectual disciplines. He was an admirer of Virchow and Bernard. Alvarado when possible always maintained an experimental methodology in his medical practice following the masters of his time particularly Claudio Bernard. Two main principles were the focus of Alvarado’s investigations namely the circulatory system and the heart walls as well as the relationship between circulation and calorification. These important Works and his practices as chair earned him a reputation as one of the most distinguished physicians of his period throughout the American continent. Clandestine political activities as well as ill-health eventually forced him to abandon the post as chair when he attempted to obtain the established level of Scientist of the Medical School. Perhaps his close friendship with the late President Juárez influenced his decision to leave partly on grounds of supposed ill health. He went on to initiate investigations into Yellow Fever the results of which were so promising that the Academy of Medicine gave him a grant in order to pursue and bring the study to fruition. His work The Yellow Fever in Veracruz (La fiebre amarilla en Veracruz) (Mex., 1897) remains to this day a significant study.

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Pronunciamiento de la Alta California (26 January 1837; Los Ángeles, California)