Lives of the fellows

Allan Watson Downie

b.9 February 1925 d.24 February 2008
MB ChB Aberd(1946) MRCP(1951) FRCP(1972)

Allan Watson Downie was a senior lecturer in the department of medicine, Aberdeen University, and an honorary consultant neurologist for Grampian Health Board. He was born in Aberdeen, the son of John Downie, a chief clerk, and his wife, Winifred Mary née Brockie. Her father, Alexander, was a journalist. Educated at Robert Gordon's College, he studied medicine at Aberdeen University and the Royal Infirmary.

After qualifying in 1946, he did various house jobs in Aberdeen before undertaking National Service in the RAMC from 1947 to 1949. On demobilisation he returned to Aberdeen to work in the new neurosurgical unit. Following this, in 1952, he moved to London as a senior registrar in neurology at the Maida Vale Hospital.

In 1957 he moved to the US as an instructor, and eventually, an associate professor in neurology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Among others, he published articles on sensory nerve conduction.

Seven years later, he returned to Aberdeen as its first consultant neurologist. He conducted research into the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis, a disorder in which north east Scotland had one of the highest rates in the world. Having compiled an invaluable register of local patients, he was able to carry out important trials of effective treatments.

Among his interests, he especially enjoyed walking, beach combing, canoeing and listening to music.

He married Jean Mildred née Paine in 1953, her father, Robert, was in the shoe trade. They had six children. When he died, Jean survived him, with their children and 10 grandchildren.

RCP editor

[BMJ, 2008 337 1459]

(Volume XII, page web)

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