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In 1836, Gaetano Conte, physician and professor in the Ospedale degli Incurabili of Naples Italy, described, for the first time in the world, two brothers affected by a disease of the muscles (later called Duchenne), simultaneously displaying cardiac involvement. The issue of Archivio degli Ospedali Incurabili, where Conte’s paper was published, was found in the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, in 1990, by my co-worker Vito Petretta, after two months’ research.
During a meeting held in S. Agnello di Sorrento, near Naples, in 1991, the Gaetano Conte Prize was established in order to remember this important step in the knowledge of muscle diseases, and ever since that event, the prize has been awarded, at each Congress of the Mediterranean Society of Myology (MSM), to the scientists, working in clinical or in basic sciences or in the social field, who had contributed to the progress of knowledge on muscular diseases.
Special prizes have been awarded to scientists who have dedicated their lives to muscle diseases, contributing not only to clinical and basic research but, at the same time, also to social problems.
The Gaetano Conte Prize Winners are listed in the Table. In 2009, during the MSM Congress, to be held in Cyprus, another three scientists will receive the gold medal and certificate as winners of the Gaetano Conte Prize. So far, the winners have been 14 in Clinical Research, 15 in Basic Research, 10 in the Social Field, plus 8 Special prizes (for a total of 47). In Cyprus, with another 3 winners, the total number of Gaetano Conte Prizes, will reach 50.
We are all indebted to these prize winners and I take this opportunity to congratulate them and thank them sincerely, once again, for their contribution to this field and to the MSM, in particular. The history of these 50 research workers is the history of Myology, a field of scientific knowledge that has achieved very important progress over the last 20 years.
We sincerely hope that the institution of the Gaetano Conte Price will remain, also in the future, a link between Myologists and will continue to contribute to the dissemination of our knowledge in a field, that had, in the past, been somewhat neglected.