The latest issue of the Journal of the History of the Neuroscience is now online (find it here). Included in this issue are articles on the first comparative survey of the microscopic anatomy of vertebrate brains, tuberculosis-related aphasia in the nineteenth century, and the treatise “De structura nervorum” by Jirí Procháska. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Jirí Procháska (1749-1820): Part 2: “De structura nervorum”–Studies on a Structure of the Nervous System,” by Alexandr Chvátal. The abstract reads:
The treatise “De structura nervorum” by Jirí Procháska was published in 1779 and is remarkable not only for its anatomical and histological findings but also for its historical introduction, which contains a detailed bibliographical review of the contemporary knowledge of the structure of the nervous tissue. Unfortunately, the treatise has never been translated from the Latin language, but it deserves further analysis as a historical document about the level of neuroscience research conducted by a famous Czech scholar. The present article includes a historical overview of the contemporary knowledge of the structure of the nervous tissue up to the late eighteenth century from the perspective of today, a translation of selected chapters from Prochaska’s treatise (a historical introduction about the medieval knowledge of the structure of the nervous tissue and an interpretation of his neurohistological observations), and an analysis of Jirí Prochaska’s results in light of current knowledge.
“Ludwig Edinger: The Vertebrate Series and Comparative Neuroanatomy,” by Paul Patton. The abstract reads:
At the end of the nineteenth century, Ludwig Edinger completed the first comparative survey of the microscopic anatomy of vertebrate brains. He is regarded as the founder of the field of comparative neuroanatomy. Modern commentators have misunderstood him to have espoused an anti-Darwinian linear view of brain evolution, harkening to the metaphysics of the scala naturae. This understanding arises, in part, from an increasingly contested view of nineteenth-century morphology in Germany. Edinger did espouse a progressionist, though not strictly linear, view of forebrain evolution, but his work also provided carefully documented evidence that brain stem structures vary in complexity independently from one another and across species in a manner that is not compatible with linear progress. This led Edinger to reject progressionism for all brain structures other than the forebrain roof, based on reasoning not too dissimilar from those his successors used to dismiss it for the forebrain roof.
“Aphasia Secondary to Tuberculosis: A Review of a Nineteenth-Century Case Report by Booth and Curtis (1893),” by Noel Shafi. The abstract reads:
The topic of aphasia secondary to tuberculosis deserves attention for two reasons: first, for better understanding rare etiologies of aphasia in medical history; and secondly, for initiating a multidisciplinary discussion relevant to aphasiologists, neurologists, pathologists, and clinicians generally. This article will focus on clinical observations of tuberculosis-related aphasia in the nineteenth century, highlighting a noteworthy case report presented by Booth and Curtis (1893).