Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Neuroscience

  • Paul Pierre Broca

    JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Paul Pierre Broca. US National Library of Medicine. At the turn of the nineteenth century, knowledge of how the brain worked was largely conjectural. Intelligence, memory, language, and motor and sensory functions had not been localized. The physiologist Flourens, promoting the notion of “cerebral equipotentiality,” concluded,…

  • Broca’s Brains: A lesson in the importance of saving the history of neuroscience

    Richard BrownHalifax, NS, CanadaThalia Garvock-de MontbrunMontreal, QC, Canada Recent fires at the National Museum of Brazil and at the University of Cape Town in South Africa1,2 have shown the fragility of rare books, scientific records, photographs, and films. Descriptions of book burning by Richard Ovendon3 also highlight how easily historical records can be destroyed by…

  • Origin of the mind

    Bhargavi Bhattacharyya Kolkata, India   Artificial Intelligence. Photo by Gerd Altman. From Pixabay. How are the mind and brain related? The brain is a ball of nerve cells, or neurons. The mind, the functional unit of the brain, includes imagination, perception, thinking, intelligence, judgment, language, memory, and emotions. How do these basic units, neurons, translate…

  • William Halse Rivers Rivers

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1 WHR Rivers in public domain, from Wikimedia William Rivers MD FRCP FRS (1864-1922) William Rivers (Fig 1) was a most unusual man, a polymath with careers in neuroscience, ethnology, and psychology. But above all—notwithstanding or perhaps because of personal nervous constraints—he was a man of originality and great…

  • Modern neuroscience and the ideas of the Enlightenment

    Stephen Martin Durham, United Kingdom   Fig. 1. Mrs. Jane Wilkinson, one of the first independent Georgian music teachers. English, Philip Gaugain, 1835. UK private collection. The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement in eighteenth-century Europe that had a major influence on the arts, science, education, religion, and politics. Its principles paved the way for women…

  • Beauty actualized

    Vincent P. De LuiseNew Haven, Connecticut “First of all, move me, surprise me, rend my heart; make me tremble, weep, shudder; outrage me; delight my eyes afterwards if you can . . .”— Denis Diderot What is beauty? Is it a thing or a thought? Can we touch it? Hear it? See it? Or is…

  • Staining the cells of the nervous system

    Camillo Golgi (1843 –1926) was an Italian biologist and pathologist, now recognized as the greatest neuroscientist of his time. He studied and worked at the University of Pavia, where he developed a technique of using potassium dichromate and silver nitrate to stain cellular components black. Using this stain he was able to discover the organelle now known as the Golgi apparatus, consisting…