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1.  “Hirnsymptome bei Carcinomatose” — Hermann Oppenheim and an Early Description of a Paraneoplastic Neurological Syndrome 
Paraneoplastic neurological syndromes belong to the most enigmatic and fascinating disorders. Their remarkable clinical spectrum ranges from sensory neuronopathy to cerebellar degeneration or limbic encephalitis. We retrace the clinical and pathological description of a forgotten case published by Hermann Oppenheim in 1888, which to our knowledge represents the first report of a paraneoplastic neurological syndrome. The young Oppenheim used thorough observation and good clinical judgment to suggest a causal link between the seemingly mere association of an underlying malignancy and a neurological syndrome, decades before Denny-Brown’s identification of sensory neuronopathy in 1948 and a century before the discovery of “anti-Hu” antibodies. Oppenheim anticipated that scientific progress was required to prove this link, and he indicated his finding as “a pointer for future observers.” In this way, he leaves the reader with the fascinating question of which observations during our current neurology practice could be the next “pointers” in medical research.
PMCID: PMC4673590  PMID: 25802985
paraneoplastic neurological syndrome; Hermann Oppenheim; cancer; encephalitis
2.  Magic Bullets for Mental Disorders: The Emergence of the Concept of an “Antipsychotic” Drug 
When “antipsychotic” drugs were introduced into psychiatry in the 1950s, they were thought to work by inducing a state of neurological suppression, which reduced behavioral disturbance as well as psychotic symptoms. This view was reflected in the name “neuroleptic.” Within a few years, however, the idea that the drugs were a disease-specific treatment for schizophrenia or psychosis, and that they worked by modifying the underlying pathology of the condition, replaced this earlier view, and they became known as “antipsychotics.” This transformation of views about the drugs’ mode of action occurred with little debate or empirical evaluation in the psychiatric literature and obscured earlier evidence about the nature of these drugs. Drug advertisements in the British Journal of Psychiatry reflect the same changes, although the nondisease-specific view persisted for longer. It is suggested that professional interests rather than scientific merit facilitated the rise of the disease-specific view of drug action. The increasing popularity of atypical antipsychotics makes it important to examine the origins of the assumptions on which modern drug treatment is based.
PMCID: PMC4118918  PMID: 23323530
antipsychotics; history of psychopharmacology; psychiatric therapeutics; treatment specificity
Hebb and Vygotsky are two of the most influential figures of psychology in the first half of the 20th century. They represent cultural and biological approaches to explaining human development, and thus a number of their ideas remain relevant to current psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In this paper we examine similarities and differences between these two important figures, exploring possibilities for a theoretical synthesis between their two literatures, which have had little contact each other. To pursue these goals the following topics are discussed: 1) Hebb and Vygotsky’s lives and training; 2) their innovations in theory building relating to an “objective psychology” and objective science of mind, 3) their developmental approach, 4) their treatment of mediation and neuropsychology and 5) their current relevance and possible integration of their views. We argue that considering the two together improves prospects for a more complete and integrated approach to mind and brain in society.
PMCID: PMC3691348  PMID: 23679195
Development; Hebb; Cell-assembly; Integrated science of mind; Luria; Mediation; Mind and mental activity; Neuropsychology; Vygotsky
4.  Thomas Graham Brown (1882–1965): Behind the Scenes at the Cardiff Institute of Physiology 
Thomas Graham Brown undertook seminal experiments on the neural control of locomotion between 1910 and 1915. Although elected to the Royal Society in 1927, his locomotion research was largely ignored until the 1960s when it was championed and extended by the distinguished neuroscientist, Anders Lundberg. Puzzlingly, Graham Brown's published research stopped in the 1920s and he became renowned as a mountaineer. In this article, we review his life and multifaceted career, including his active neurological service in WWI. We outline events behind the scenes during his tenure at Cardiff's Institute of Physiology in Wales, UK, including an interview with his technician, Terrence J. Surman, who worked in this institute for over half a century.
PMCID: PMC3259622
physiology; spinal cord; locomotion; motoneurones; interneurones; neural control; mountaineering; sailing; medical school politics
5.  Three Twentieth-Century Multiauthored Neurological Handbooks – A Historical Analysis and Bibliometric Comparison 
The emergence of neurology as a separate specialty from internal medicine and psychiatry took several decades, starting at the end of the nineteenth century. This can be adequately reconstructed by focusing on the establishment of specialized journals, societies, university chairs, the invention and application of specific instruments, medical practices, and certainly also the publication of pivotal textbooks in the field. Particularly around 1900, the German-speaking countries played an integral role in this process. In this article, one aspect is extensively explored, notably the publication (in the twentieth century) of three comprehensive and influential multivolume and multiauthor handbooks entirely devoted to neurology. All available volumes of Max Lewandowsky's Handbuch der Neurologie (1910–1914) and the Handbuch der Neurologie (1935–1937) of Oswald Bumke and Otfrid Foerster were analyzed. The handbooks were then compared with Pierre Vinken's and George Bruyn's Handbook of Clinical Neurology (1968–2002).
Over the span of nearly a century these publications became ever more comprehensive and developed into a global, encompassing project as is reflected in the increasing number of foreign authors. Whereas the first two handbooks were published mainly in German, “Vinken & Bruyn” was eventually published entirely in English, indicating the general changes in the scientific language of neurology after World War II. Distinctions include the uniformity of the series, manner of editorial involvement, thematic comprehensiveness, inclusion of volume editors in “Vinken & Bruyn,” and the provision of index volumes. The increasing use of authorities in various neurological subspecialties is an important factor by which these handbooks contrast with many compact neurological textbooks that were available at the time.
For historiographical purposes, the three neurological handbooks considered here were important sources for the general study of the history of medicine and science and the history of neurology in particular. Moreover, they served as important catalyzers of the emergence of neurology as a new clinical specialty during the first decades of the twentieth century.
PMCID: PMC3933202  PMID: 24083680
German and Dutch handbooks; clinical neurology; history of medicine; history of neurology; bibliometric analysis; specialization in medicine

Results 1-5 (5)