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November 18, 1968


JAMA. 1968;206(8):1785-1786. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150080065018

Vieussens, the son of a lieutenant colonel in the French army, was born in Vieussens, a small village in Rouergue.1 Without financial support he provided for his own education, studying philosophy at Rhodez and medicine at Montpellier, where he graduated in 1671. Both before and after graduation he displayed great interest in anatomical dissection. After appointment as physician to the hospital of Saint Eloy in Montpellier, Vieussens utilized his time to great advantage in the morgue. His first great work, a compendium of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, adequately illustrated and based upon 500 anatomical dissections of postmorten material, was published in 1685. The Neurographia universalis,2 prepared in Latin, provided the most complete description of the brain and spinal cord to appear in the 17th century. Vieussens showed that the spinal cord was a functionally independent structure and not merely a prolongation of the central