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Prosper Ménière (1799–1862) was born at Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France, son of a tradesman. He graduated in medicine in Paris with a gold medal (1826), MD (1828), and became assistant to Dupuytren at the Hôtel Dieu; he eventually became chief physician to the Institution for Deaf Mutes. Just before he died he described a condition of middle age comprising vertigo, nausea, headache, deafness and tinnitus, occurring in attacks. He attributed his syndrome to dysfunction in the semicircular canals.
He married Mlle Becquerel, of a family with numerous links to medicine, otolaryngology, and radioactivity. He died of pneumonia on 7 February 1862.—D G James