Electrophysiology in mid-20th century America: II. EEG and the beginnings of clinical neuroscience
David MILLETT2, and
Russell A. JOHNSON3, 4
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
Montreal, Quebec, Canada