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August 18, 1934

THE ENDURING ACHIEVEMENTS OF SIR CHARLES BELL: CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS

Author Affiliations

ROCHESTER, MINN.
From the Section on Neurology, the Mayo Clinic.

JAMA. 1934;103(7):457-462. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750330001001
Abstract

For almost 2,000 years physiology of the nervous system had been at a standstill. Galen had wrought with such master strokes that the work seemed finished, or impossible of advancement. There existed a heritage that men were unwilling to dishonor.

In anatomy, progress had been more heartening. "Seven books on the structure of the human body" (1543) had broken the impasse, made possible an anatomic method of thinking, and laid the foundation of modern medicine. Unwillingly did Sylvius finally bend to the contentions of Vesalius with the remark, "Yes, man has changed, but not for the better."

Then there appeared a man with an idea, a man who left the revolving circle and showed the way to progress. The importance of this idea to physiologic investigations his magnificent contemporary, Johannes Müller, placed beside that of the discovery of the circulation of the blood by Harvey.

The salient events in the

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