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Juda Groen was born in Amsterdam, graduated in medicine from Amsterdam University, was house officer at the Middlesex and St. Bartholomew’s Hospitals in London and was a Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard’s Thorndike Memorial from 1935-36. Under the Nazis, he was dismissed, along with his Jewish colleagues, from Amsterdam University and during the war years prepared his future work in psychosomatic illness.
He headed the Wilhelmina University Hospital Department of Internal Medicine from 1945-1958 where he also led a psychosomatic research group. There he conducted wide-ranging studies on psychological conditions, nutrition, and metabolism in chronic illness and compared lifestyles, diet and risk characteristics among Trappist and Benedictine monks. From 1958 –1968 he was Professor of Medicine at the Hadassah-Hebrew University, where he studied ethnic differences in diet and cardiovascular diseases among Israeli populations, finding less diabetes and heart disease in the desert tribes of the Negev.
Groen’s influence extended from his early associations with biochemical medicine and colleagues, including other CVD pioneers deLangen and Snapper, up until today in judging the thesis defense of our contemporary, Daan Kromhout. It seems that Groen was pleased but embarrassed to be knighted by the Dutch Queen, among many honors received in his later years.Sources:
M.J.G.W. van Daal and A. de Knecht-Van Eekelen. Joannes Juda Groen (1903-1990): Een arts op zoek naar het ware welzijn. Rotterdam: Erasmus Publishing, 1994.