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Books, Journals, New Media
May 12, 2004


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2258-2259. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2258

Horace Winchell Magoun, PhD (1907-1991), is probably best known for his contributions to understanding the function of the reticular activating system. He completed his doctoral studies in 1934 and began his research career with Stephen Ranson at the Institute of Neurology, Northwestern University Medical School, Evanston, Illinois, where he focused on mechanisms of postural tone and the hypothalamus. After transferring to the department of anatomy in 1941, Magoun focused on the neuropathology of the brainstem reticular formation and brainstem involvement in the extrapyramidal motor system. In 1949, with Giuseppe Moruzzi of the University of Pisa, Italy, Magoun published a seminal paper, "Brain Stem Reticular Formation and Activation of the EEG." This and subsequent work on the brainstem reticular formation resulted in numerous publications and awards, including two nominations for the Nobel Prize. By the late 1950s he began shifting more to organizational leadership and administration, helping to found the Brain Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1959, serving as dean of the graduate division at UCLA from 1962 to 1972, and cofounding with Louise Marshall the Neuroscience History Resource Program (later Archives) in UCLA's Brain Research Institute in 1980.

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