Medical Dictionary

Beau's lines

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noun plural \ ˈbōz- \

medical Definition of Beau's lines

:transverse grooves or ridges on a fingernail or toenail that occur from a temporary disruption in nail growth (such as that resulting from severe illness, malnutrition, or chemotherapy)
  • The nails of someone who had pneumonia several weeks previously may show transverse grooves—these “Beau's lines” attest to the nutritional insult to the “nail plate” (the growing part, under the cuticle).
  • —John StoneThe New York Times Magazine28 Aug. 1988

Biographical Note for beau's lines

  • Beau \\, Joseph–Honoré–Simon (1806–1865), French physician. Beau successively served on the staffs of St. Antoine's and Cochin Hospitals. He is credited with being one of the first to apply physiological concepts to the study of pathology and with observing that functional disorders often precede anatomical disorders. His areas of research included epilepsy, dyspepsia, hysteria, and disorders of the heart and lungs. He is remembered for his descriptions of asystole, in 1836, and Beau's lines, in 1846.

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