Brown-Sequard: An Improbable Genius Who Transformed Medicine

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 85%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (22) from $9.00   
  • New (10) from $44.30   
  • Used (12) from $9.00   

Overview

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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Every medical student learns about the Brown-Sequard Syndrome, because it is a direct introduction to the understanding of the spinal cord tracts. However, most physicians, including those in the clinical neurosciences, know little about the life and other major contributions of this extraordinary, eccentric, wandering polymath, who was born on the unlikely French island of Mauitiusr Michael Aminoff, a polymath himself, brings Charles Edouard Brown-Sequard to life with this wonderful biography. It is a great and enriching read." —Robert B. Daroff, MD, Professor and Chair Emeritus of Neurology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH

"It is fitting that Michael Aminoff should write an in-depth biography of Charles Edouard Brown-Séquard. Although separated by one and a half centuries, both are accomplished of men of science and medicine with careers in America and Europe. Aminoff is undoubtedly the world's foremost expert on Brown-Séquard. His biography brings this enigmatic character to life, along with his place and time...The work is scholarly, objective and balanced in pointing out the contributions, strengths, weaknesses and eccentricities of Brown-Séquard...Aminoff does a great service to Brown-Séquard and to the history of medicine and science in relating the largely forgotten story and previously untold accounts of a remarkable scientist who left us a legacy of discoveries and challenges." — G.Bryan Young, MD, FRCPC, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada

"There are so many turns and surprises within Professor Aminoff's very comprehensive biography that any medical practitioner, particularly neurologic physicians and endocrinologists, and medical/scientific historians, will be hard pressed to put down this eminently readable treatise." — H. Royden Jones, MD, Jaime Ortiz-Patino Chair in Neurology, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA and Clinical Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA

"Charles Edouard Brown-Séquard (1818-1894) was a polymath. He was immortalized by an eponym for a syndrome of spinal cord injury, which he described. That syndrome has been known to generations of medical students as a mnemonic for learning neuroanatomy. But he archived much more, including the essentiality of the adrenal glands, control of blood vessels by nerves, keeping organs alive by oxygenation (leading to cardiopulmonary bypass), the value of hypothermia, the concept of hormonal action on remote organs and replacement therapy, the idea of neuronal networks, the nature of rigor mortis and decubitus ulcers. As a result, Brown-Séquard became a famous neurologist and Professor in France, England and the United States. His story is told with literary panache by Michael Aminoff, another polymath." — Lewis P. Rowland, MD, New York Neurological Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY

"Among the founding fathers of modern neuroscience, Brown-Sequard is certainly the most exotic. A nomadic career led him from his birthplace in Mauritius to the great capitals of 19th century neuroscience, Paris and London, and then to Boston and beyond. At each stop, he left a giant imprint but few rootsEL.In this new biography of the great iconoclast, Michael Aminoff makes the compelling case for Brown-Sequard's place as a theorist of the first-rank whose work foresaw the modern disciplines of endocrinology and systems neuroscience. Aminoff goes beyond the public - and private - life of this enigmatic man to illuminate the world of academia and medicine at its modern dawn. It is a brilliant and engaging tale of an impactful and quixotic life, opening a window into the foundations of modern science and medicine." — Stephen L. Hauser, MD, Chair, Department of Neurology, University of California - San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

"The present biography adds important material to previous books and places it in a larger context. Moreover, Aminoff made his book more accessible to a broader public, explaining terms in the text and providing brief biographical details on persons in footnotes." — P.J. Koehler, Brain: A Journal of Neurology

"Aminoff's biography of Brown-Séquard is an intriguing and entertaining read in its telling of the remarkable history of an extraordinary and troubled man, who fulfilled his widowed mother's dreams, only to lose part of a justly won fame and influence. It documents that, in his up-and-down career, Brown-Séquard played an important part in the beginning of modern evidencebased medicine and fostered an appreciation of the value of integrative physiology in medical diagnosis and treatment." — Edward R. Perl, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199742639
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/23/2010
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1 Prologue: The Death of a Professor

Chapter 2: At Home in Mauritius

Chapter 3 A Medical Student in Paris

Chapter 4. Great Expectations

Chapter 5. The Physics of the Circulation: Why we don't faint on standing and get bedsores on lying still for too long

Chapter 6: Fame in the Making

Chapter 7. Fame and Fortune in Britain: A Piece of Cake

Chapter 8: Broken Dreams and Promises

Chapter 9: Musical Chairs

Chapter 10: Thoughts about the Brain

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

Appendix

Glossary

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)