The first chapter in the history of rheumatology, apart from the foresight of a few great physicians like Guillaume de Baillou 1538-1616, was produced by Thos Sydenham, who wrote an amazing description of acute rheumatism in 1676. This was followed up by Pitcairn linking it with cardiology in 1788 and Archibald Garrod 1817-1907 on gout. Much of our early knowledge comes from books and treatises of the Spa doctors researching the "waters". Examples are George Cheyne in 1720 on gout, Caleb Hillier Parry, whose most important thesis was in 1786 on thyrotoxicosis, Kent Spender in 1887 on osteoarthritis and Gilbert Bannatyne in 1896 on rheumatoid arthritis, who also gave the first description of its xray diagnosis in 1911. Serious interest in rheumatology started in the 1920's, with Alison Glover's Reports on its incidence! 1924-1928). This led to the setting up of the Royal College of Physicians' Committee in 1932 and this was followed in 1936 by the formation of the Empire Rheumatism Council, now the ARC. In the same year the Heberden Society was formed.
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