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Historical aspects of neurology 

Historical aspects of neurology
Chapter:
Historical aspects of neurology
Author(s):

Charles Gross

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199655946.003.0001
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date: 28 May 2020

Systematic interest in the functions and diseases of the brain began with the Presocratic natural philosophers and Hippocratic doctors in the sixth to fourth century BCE. It was developed by the Alexandrian anatomists, reaching its peak in Classical science and medicine with Galen in the first century. Greek medical learning was expanded in medieval Islam and reborn in the Renaissance with Vesalius. Modern neurology, particularly the localization of brain functions, began in the early nineteenth century with phrenology, followed by the discovery of language, motor, and sensory cortical areas. The idea that the nervous system is made up of discrete nerve cells was the major advance at the end of the nineteenth century. Important twentieth-century developments include advances in understanding the frontal lobes, the role of the visual cortex in perception, the function of the hippocampus in memory, the lateralization of cortical function, and the introduction of functional imaging.

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