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Debre studied philosophy and, later, medicine. He subsequently became a professor of bacteriology and paediatrics.
In 1935 Debre (with Semelaigne) described a clinical syndrome resembling myotonia congenita but associated with cretinism. Debre syndrome is the enlargement of muscles caused by cretinism. Debre was honoured philatelically by France in 1981, which was the 100th year of his birth (Stanley Gibbons 2517, Scott B545).
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