The present investigation was undertaken at the suggestion of Dr. William G. Spiller, in order to determine what symptoms would be produced by destroying the anterolateral column, including Gowers' tract. In Gowers' original observation1 he referred to a group of fibers situated in the anterolateral columns of the cord, which underwent degeneration from a lesion of the eleventh thoracic segment. He traced these degenerated fibers upward as far as the cervical region, and believed that they were concerned in the transmission of painful stimuli from the opposite side of the body.
Since that time innumerable clinical and pathologic studies seem to confirm Gowers' first impression. Experiments on animals, however, have not always lent support to this opinion, the results in some instances having been very confusing and even contradictory; indeed, Mott,2 after cutting this tract in monkeys, concluded that its function was unknown. Bing,3 experimenting on dogs,
CADWALADER WB, SWEET JE. EXPERIMENTAL WORK ON THE FUNCTION OF THE ANTEROLATERAL COLUMN OF THE SPINAL CORD. JAMA. 1912;LVIII(20):1490-1493. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04260050166002