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In 1846 he was chosen by the government to undertake research of a measles epidemic in the Faroe Islands. As a result of his investigations he published a classic treatise titled "Observations Made During the Epidemic of Measles on the Faroe Islands in the Year 1846". Later he studied with Rudolf Virchow at the University of Würzburg (1851), and with Claude Bernard in Paris (1852-53). From 1855 to 1864 he was a professor at the University of Kiel, afterwards relocating to the University of Copenhagen as professor of physiology, where he spent the remainder of his career.
Panum is acknowledged as being the first person to perform systematic and comprehensive studies of endotoxin, which he referred to at the time as "putrid poison". He believed that this substance was responsible for signs and symptoms observed in patients with sepsis.
In his studies of binocular vision, the eponymous "Panum's fusional area" is derived. This term is defined as the area on the retina of one eye over which a point-sized image can range, while still being able to provide a single image with a specific point of stimulus on the retina of the other eye. Therefore, the region in visual space that we perceive "single vision" is Panum's fusional area, and objects in front and behind this region exist in physiological diplopia (double vision).
- Danish Medical Bulletin - No. 4. November 2006 Essay on Panum's Research of Endotoxin
- Public health by Dona Schneider, David E. Lilienfeld (biographical information)
- Dorland's Medical Dictionary (definition of Panum's fusional area)
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