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February 25, 1911

Emanuel Swedenborg's Investigations in Natural Science and the Basis for His Statements Concerning the Functions of the Brain.

JAMA. 1911;LVI(8):614. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.02560080062033

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Abstract

After a brief summary of Swedenborg's excursions into the fields of mathematics, astronomy, mechanics, chemistry, mineralogy and geology, the author presents more completely his later teachings on the structure and functions of the brain and a detailed analysis of the sources of these neurologic doctrines.

Although Swedenborg's neurology was permeated by the absurd ideas current in his time, and long afterward, regarding the nature of the "animal spirits" or "fluidum spiritosum" and the seat of the soul, nevertheless the reader cannot fail to be impressed by the great advance of his views over those of most of his contemporaries.

The most important of these are that the centers of the psychic functions are to be found in the cerebral cortex, that these functions are localized in definite cortical areas and that the cortical nerve cells ("cerebellula") are the functional units. All of these views are shown to be represented in

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