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October 7, 1961

The Discovery of Reflexes

JAMA. 1961;178(1):92. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040400094032

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A delightful and scholarly book has been written by Professor Liddell, successor to Sir Charles Sherrington in the Chair of Physiology at Oxford. Sir Charles did not want a conventional biography, so Liddell has written about neurophysiology before Sherrington. By telling the story of the discovery of reflexes up to 1906, when The Integrative Action of the Nervous System was published, he has skillfully pointed out Sherrington's great contribution.

Chapter I, "The Nerve Cell and the Microscope," takes the reader from Robert Hooke to Santiago Ramon y Cajal. Chapter II, "Animal Electricity," tells of the remarkable experiments of Galvani and Volta, through du Bois-Reymond and Muller to Einthoven and the recording of minute electrical potentials. Chapter III, "Experimental Approaches," deals with the great men in the field before and after Charles Bell. To Liddell it was fun to meet these giants of old, and he surprises the reader with how

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