Brown-Sequard: An Improbable Genius Who Transformed Medicine

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Oxford University Press, Nov 24, 2010 - Medical - 376 pages
Brown-Séquard: An Improbable Genius Who Transformed Medicine traces the strange career of an eccentric, restless, widely admired, nineteenth-century physician-scientist who eventually came to be scorned by antivivisectionists for his work on animals, by churchgoers who believed that he encouraged licentious behavior, and by other scientists for his unorthodox views and for claims that, in fact, he never made. An improbable genius whose colorful life was characterized by dramatic reversals of fortune, he was a founder-physician of England's premier neurological hospital and held important professorships in America and France. Brown-Séquard identified the sensory pathways in the spinal cord and emphasized functional processes in the integrative actions of the nervous system, thereby anticipating modern concepts of how the brain operates. He also discovered the function of the nerves that supply the blood vessels and thereby control their caliber, and the associated reflexes that adjust the circulation to bodily needs. He was the first to show that the adrenal glands are essential to life and suggested that other organs have internal secretions. He injected himself with ground-up animal testicles, claiming an invigorating effect, and this approach led to the development of modern hormone replacement therapy. Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard was reportedly "one of the greatest discover of facts that the world has ever seen". It has also been suggested that "if his reasoning power had equaled his power of observation he might have done for physiology what Newton did for physics." In fact, scientific advances in the years since his death have provided increasing support for many of his once-ridiculed beliefs.

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Chapter 1 The Death of a Professor
Chapter 2 At Home in Mauritius
Chapter 3 A Medical Student in Paris
Chapter 4 Great Expectations
Why We Dont Faint on Standing and Why We Get Bedsores on Lying Still for Too Long
Chapter 6 Fame in the Making
A Piece of Cake
Chapter 8 Broken Dreams and Promises
Chapter 11 The Disease of Devils and Demons
Chapter 12 The Magnificent Maverick
Chapter 13 A New System of Medicine
Chapter 14 Scenes from the World of a Scientist
Chapter 15 A Backward Glance and a Reckoning
General Biographical References
The Scientific Works of BrownSéquard

Chapter 9 Musical Chairs
Chapter 10 Thoughts About the Brain

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About the author (2010)

Dr. Aminoff was born and educated in England. He moved to California in 1974, where he is Professor of Neurology at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco. He is well known as a neurologist, clinical neurophysiologist, educator, author, journal editor, and medical historian.

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