Recherches sur le systeme nerveux en general, et sur celui du cerveau in particulier
by Gall, F. J.; G. Spurzheim
Paris: F. Schoell; H. Nicolle, 1809. Gall, Franz Joseph (1758-1828) & Johann Caspar Spurzheim (1776-1832). Recherches sur le systčme nerveux en général, et sur celui du cerveau en particulier . . . 4to. , vii, 277pp. Engraved plate by Bouquet after J. Prętre. Paris: F. Schoell; H. Nicolle, 1809. 293 x 222 mm. Tree sheep ca. 1809, gilt spine, corners worn, some rubbing but sound. Occasional minor foxing, library shelf-mark on half-title, library stamp on half-title and one other leaf, card pocket tipped to front flyleaf, one or two minor marginal tears but very good. First Edition. Gall and Spurzheim's first joint publication was this memoir on the anatomy of the brain and nervous system, which they submitted to a committee of the Institut de France (chaired by psychiatrist Philippe Pinel) in 1808. In 1810 the Recherches was republished as part of the first volume of Gall and Spurzheim's Anatomie et physiologie du systčme nerveux (1810-12), the work that introduced the theory of localization of cerebral function. "Beginning in 1800, with the assistance of Spurzheim, Gall made a number of important neuro-anatomical discoveries . . . The unifying theme in his neuroanatomical work was the conception of the nervous system as a hierarchically ordered series of separate by interrelated ganglia designed on a unified plan. Higher structures developed from lower ones, receiving reinforcement from other nerve pathways along the way. . . [Gall] also discovered the origins of the first eight cranial nerves and traced the fibers of the medulla oblongata to the basal ganglia. In the cerebellum he described the systems of fibers now known as projection and commissural. In the cerebral cortex he finally established the contralateral decussation of the pyramids and drew attention to the detailed anatomy of the convolutions. Gall and Spurzheim's investigations gave considerable impetus to the study of neuroanatomy, and both their findings and their general conceptions proved very important when they were later integrated with an evolutionary view of the nervous system and with the neuron theory" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). McHenry, in Garrison's History of Neurology, notes that "Gall and Spurzheim established the fact that the white matter of the brain consists of nerve fibers and that the gray matter of the cerebral cortex represents the organs of mental activity. They were the first to demonstrate that the trigeminal nerve was not merely attached to the pons, but that it sent its root fibers as far down as the inferior olive in the medulla" (p. 146). Norman 861.
(Inventory #: 44002)
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