The Mary Walker effect: Mary Broadfoot Walker

Mary Broadfoot Walker (1888–1974) was the first to demonstrate the ‘Mary Walker effect’ describing the weakness of other muscle groups following release of the arteriovenous occlusion of an unrelated exercising muscle group in patients with myasthenia gravis, which led to the search for a circulating causative agent for myasthenia gravis. She was the first to clearly demonstrate that strength temporarily improved in patients with myasthenia gravis with physostigmine or Prostigmin (neostigmine).

Gowers and Osler: good friends ‘all through’

William Gowers and William Osler first met in 1878, and Osler visited Gowers often when in London. Osler dedicated his book On Chorea and Choreiform Affections to Gowers in 1894, addressing himself as Gowers’ sincere friend. Two warm letters between Osler and Gowers exist in the Osler Library Archives, highlighting their strong friendship, and Gowers’ son Ernest wrote Osler a letter after the death of his father. Referring to the relationship between William Osler and William Gowers, he noted that Osler had indeed been a good friend to him all through.