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ISSN: Print -2349-0977, Online - 2349-4387
CHRONICLES OF MEDICINE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-25

The neurology timeline: Of demon holes, sacred pathways and great triumphs


Department of Radiodiagnosis, Pulmonary Medicine, Neurology, and Nuclear Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Pranav Ish
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2349-0977.250925

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The first chapter in neurology was composed in the prescience era. Chiseled with flint stones, grisly in nature, it was a narrative where men trephined human skull to treat such maladies as head injury, epilepsy, and disturbed mind. The ungodly practice survived from the late Stone Age until the renaissance. The first written reference to brain is found in the Edwin Smith surgical papyri. Written around 3000 BCE in Egypt, the papyri describe certain cognitive defects of head injuries. The first sapient exploration into the functions and diseases of brain opened in the sixth to fourth century BCE. It began with the Alexandrian anatomists and Hippocratic doctors, gathered steam in the classical era of science with Galen in the first century, and reached its peak with Vesalius during renaissance. Modern neurology, particularly the localization of brain functions, began with German physician Franz Joseph Gall's work on phrenology in the late 18th century and, over the next hundred years, was 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 born out of the neuroanatomical work of Camillo Golgi and a Spanish doctor, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, at the end of 19th century. Major 20th-century developments include advances in understanding of the frontal lobes, the role of visual cortex in perception, the function of hippocampus in memory, lateralization of cortical function, and the introduction of all revealing cross-sectional and functional imaging. While practitioners of medicine across the world unraveled the secrets of maladies that strike the seat of senses and intellect, other accomplished players struck sweet melodies of life by discovering potent molecules, devices, and surgical techniques which could work a remedy and cure.


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