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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 16, 2005


JAMA. 2005;293(7):877. doi:10.1001/jama.293.7.877

It is not so very long since it was generally believed that the series of events that occurred in a peripheral nerve after it had been divided were fairly well understood and established. It was generally taught that the axis cylinder in the peripheral part rapidly underwent degeneration throughout its entire length, while the peripheral end, because it was still connected with the nerve cells of which it formed a part, degenerated but little, as far as the nearest node of Ranvier. Regeneration, it was believed, must come entirely from the central portion, for here alone was the axis cylinder still in continuity with its cell. All of the new-formed axis cylinders in the peripheral portion of the injured nerve were believed to have been entirely derived from the central portion, which pushed its way down along the old nerve sheaths that were left after the degenerated peripheral fibers had been absorbed. Continued investigations have failed to establish the accuracy of this comparatively simple conception, and have tended rather to confuse the picture. Hence an exhaustive review of the literature on this important subject, recently published by Schütte,1 and the conclusions reached therefrom, are of considerable interest.

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