Electrophysiology in mid-20th century America: II. EEG and the beginnings of clinical neuroscience

Lawrence KRUGER1, David MILLETT2, and Russell A. JOHNSON3, 4
1Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA; 2Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA; 3Neuroscience History Archives, Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, USA; 4History & SPecial Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Analysis of the compound action potential of peripheral nerve, selective nerve block and correlation with human sensory reports, principally from the St. Louis “axonologists” (Erlanger, Gasser, Bishop) in the 1930s, was paralleled by methods for stereotaxic electrophysiological mapping of the brain in Chicago (Gerard, Marshall and Saul). This was soon followed by detailed topographic mapping of the sensory fields of the cerebral cortex in Baltimore (Marshall, Woolsey and Bard); work that laid the foundation for the discovery of multiple representation of tactile, visual and auditory modalities (Marshall and Talbot, Woolsey and Walzl, etc.) in a variety of species, including man (Woolsey and Rasmussen). Some of these findings were correlated with studies of electrical stimulation of human cerebral cortex in Montreal (Penfield, Jasper and Rasmussen). In the post-WWII period, Marshall and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda devised instrumentation for correlating slow direct current (DC) events with EEG, pH, blood flow and metabolic measures. The introduction of microelectrode technology led to functional subdivisions and the recognition of vertical cortical modules called “columns” or “stripes” (Mountcastle et. al. and Hubel and Wiesel). Discovery of the attributes of the rodent cortical ‘barrel’ fields (T.A. Woolsey) led to the modern era of detailed event-related functional mapping, subsuming anatomical, metabolic and electrophysiological approaches.

Session IV -- Electrophysiology
Sunday, 27 June 2004, 1:55 pm

Ninth Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Montreal, Quebec, Canada