Historical cinematographic documents in neurology

Christopher G. GOETZ
Department of Neurological Sciences, and Department of Pharmacology, Rush University/Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois


The implicit visual nature of neurological diagnosis and the early introduction of medical photography in the neurological services of Charcot, SW Mitchell, and others positioned neurological specialists as natural beneficiaries of the new science of cinematography. The archives of the American Academy of Neurology, the Movement Disorder Society, and the private collections of international colleagues provide a variety of historically pertinent early film documents on neurological diseases. Luminaries including Marinescu, van Bogaert, Lance-Adams, Bucy, and Denny-Brown documented neurological diseases with moving film and captured diseases as diverse as post-encephalitic parkinsonism, locomotor ataxia, and numerous movement disorders. These documents provide insights into the creative methods of early neurologists and carefully document the clinical signs of many disorders that are no longer regularly seen. In addition, modern technology has allowed field investigators to travel worldwide and document neurological disorders confined to isolated geographical regions. Examples include kuru, latah, and parkinsonism-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis of Guam.


Session VIII -- Frames of Viewing: Photography and Cinematography in Neuroscience History
Tuesday, 4 June 2002, 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

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

Los Angeles, California, USA