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Twentieth century studies in neuroscience

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Twentieth century studies in neuroscience is an article detailing important and seminal studies and undertakings of scientists and doctors working in the field of neuroscience during the twentieth century.



Camillo Golgi, whose scientific career commenced during 1869, and Ramon y Cajal (Cajal discovered the neuron as the basic structure of the nervous system), are considered the founders of twentieth century neuroscience, both sharing the Nobel prize during 1906 for their studies and discoveries in this field.[1][2][3][4]

Charles Sherrington published a key finding in his 1906 work The Integrative Action of the Nervous System.[5][6]

Joannes Gregorius Dusser de Barenne published his first work on the action of strychnine on the nervous system during 1910.[7][8]

Harvey Cushing is recognised as the first proficient brain surgeon within the entire world.[9]

F.T.Rogers experimented on pigeons (1922) and opossum (1924). John Fulton established a primate neurophysiology laboratory during 1929 at Yale.[7][10][10]

Lorente de Nó published several studies of the cellular architecture of the cerebral cortex during the 1920s and 30's. Yerkes was experimenting using the chimpanzee sometime during the 1930s.[7][10]

Walter Dandy began the practice of vascular neurosurgery in the modern understanding during 1937, when he performed the very first surgical clipping of an intracranial aneurysm.[11]

John Farquhar Fulton, a friend of Harvey Cushing, founded the Journal of Neurophysiology and published the first comprehensive text on the physiology of the nervous system during 1938.[7][9]


The discovery of the brain having a capacity for re-organisation and change which is dependent on age, i.e. that there is a critical period to which plasticity of the brain has as a limitation for continuation of this plasticity, was made current by a proponent in the field, Margaret Kennard, who experimented on monkeys during the 1930-40s.[1]

Pitts and McCulloch were producing studies from at least 1947 onwards, contributing to the field of pattern recognition, which was at that time not yet fully born. Donald Hebb published his work Organization of Behaviour during 1949.[5][7][12]

Sherrington, Papez and MacLean had identified many of the brainstem and limbic system functions mainly due to preparations from laboratory animals by 1950.[13]

The Neuroscience Research program, an inter-university and international organisation, was founded during 1962 by Francis Schmitt, thus giving rise for the first time to the use of the word neuroscience, a factor which indicates the beginnings of an emergence of a distinct discipline within medicine and allied sciences, of uniting the multi-disciplinary scientific study of the brain to understand human behaviour.[12][14][15][16]


The Society for Neuroscience was formed during 1971.[12]

1971 - O'Keefe and Dostrovsky published the first paper on place cells in the hippocampus,[17] for which O'Keefe was awarded part of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.[18]

The ten-year period after 1990 was designated the decade of the brain in the USA. Sometime after 1991 the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience was formed.[13][19][20][21]


  1. ^ a b ed. Anjan Chatterjee, H. Branch Coslett (for individual authors see end of reference). The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience: Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology. OUP USA, 2013, 416 pages, ISBN 0195395549. Retrieved 2015-06-26.  (author: V.W.Mark - Ramon y Cajal (page 337), plasticity (page 338.))
  2. ^ edited by S.H. Koslow. The Neuroscience of Mental Health: A Report on Neuroscience Research. DIANE Publishing, 1997 (182 pages) ISBN 0788146947. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  3. ^ M.Bentivoglio - Life and Discoveries of Camillo Golgi published by Nobel Media AB [Retrieved 2015-06-27]
  4. ^ Mohandas Moses. Last Frontiers of the Mind: Challenges of the Digital Age. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., 1 Jan 2005 ISBN 8120328515 (440 pages). Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  5. ^ a b A. Scott. Neuroscience: A Mathematical Primer. Springer Science & Business Media, 19 Jun 2002 ISBN 0387954023 (352 pages). Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  6. ^ Burke, R.E. (Apr 2007). "Sir Charles Sherrington's The integrative action of the nervous system: a centenary appreciation". Brain. 130: 887–894. doi:10.1093/brain/awm022. PMID 17438014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Bilal Haider (March 2008). Contributions of Yale Neuroscience to Donald O. Hebb’s Organization of Behavior. Yale J Biol Med. 81. pp. 11–18. PMC 2442722 . 
  8. ^ "Joannes Gregorius Dusser de Barenne". The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 12 (6): 742.2. PMC 2602446 . 
  9. ^ a b M.Bliss. Harvey Cushing : A Life in Surgery: A Life in Surgery (page ix. & x.). Oxford University Press, USA, 1 Oct 2005, 610 pages, ISBN 0195346955. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  10. ^ a b c H.W. Magoun; L. Marshall. American Neuroscience in the Twentieth Century. CRC Press, 8 Aug 2005 ISBN 0203970950 (484 pages). Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  11. ^ Kretzer, RM; Coon, AL; Tamargo, RJ (June 2010). "Walter E. Dandy's contributions to vascular neurosurgery". Journal of Neurosurgery. 112 (6): 1182–91. doi:10.3171/2009.7.JNS09737. PMID 20515365. 
  12. ^ a b c G.M. Shepherd MD. Creating Modern Neuroscience: The Revolutionary 1950s. Oxford University Press, USA, 30 Sep 2009, 304 pages, ISBN 0199741476. Retrieved 2015-06-26. (Pitts and McCulloch - page 229.)(Francis Schmitt, Society for Neuroscience - page 4.)
  13. ^ a b John Deadman. The 20th Paradigm Shift in Science:Impact on Neuroscience and psychiatry in the 21st century (PDF). Dept. Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience - McMaster University. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  14. ^ Article - announcing the death of F.O.Schmitt published October 4, 1995 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology News [Retrieved 2015-06-27](ed. this reference was used to add < 1962 > and the word < Research >)
  15. ^ L.R. Squire. Fundamental Neuroscience (page 3). Academic Press, 2013, 1127 pages, ISBN 0123858704. Retrieved 2015-06-27. 
  16. ^ G.C. Quarton; F.O. Schmitt; T. Melnechuk. The Neurosciences. A Study Program (page v.). Rockefeller Univ. Press 1967. Retrieved 2015-06-27. (ed. this source used to add < an inter-university and international organisation >)
  17. ^ O'Keefe, John; Dostrovsky, Jonathan (1971). "The hippocampus as a spatial map. Preliminary evidence from unit activity in the freely-moving rat". Brain Research. 34 (1): 171–5. doi:10.1016/0006-8993(71)90358-1. PMID 5124915. 
  18. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014". 
  19. ^ Brain and Behavior Research Group The Open University S. Rose Professor of Biology and Director - The Future of the Brain : The Promise and Perils of Tomorrow's Neuroscience (p.3) Oxford University Press, USA, 1 Apr 2005 (352 pages) ISBN 0198035098 [Retrieved 2015-05-25]
  20. ^ (page posted by ckorey) - The History of FUN February 27th, 2009 [Retrieved 2015-05-25]
  21. ^ E.P. Wierterlak, J.J. Ramirez - Undergraduate Neuroscience Education:Blueprints for the 21st century The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education (JUNE) Spring 2008 [Retrieved 2015-05-25]