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March 22, 1965

Our Debt to Hughlings Jackson

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Neurology, the Department of Medicine, the New York Medical College, Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals, Fifth Ave and 106th St, New York 10029.

JAMA. 1965;191(12):991-996. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080120025007

"My own view is that we do not even yet know all that we owe to him." These words of F. M. R. Walshe,1 referring to Hughlings Jackson, induce the reader to reflect. To pay our debt to our teacher, we must show that we have grasped what he has tried to teach. It is clear that our debt to Hughlings Jackson has not yet been paid.

We all revere "the father of modern neurology," but we do not appreciate what Jackson did that entitles him to this accolade. If the question were put, "What did Jackson do?" most physicians— indeed, most neurologists—would think first of Jacksonian epilepsy. Then they would mention his work on aphasia and on the phenomenon of release of lower centers from control by higher centers. But these are minor items in comparison with his major achievement. His great achievement was to develop a conception

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