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April 17, 1948


JAMA. 1948;136(16):1050-1051. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890330040013

In his centennial address before the Section on Nervous and Mental Diseases of the Annual Session of the American Medical Association at Atlantic City, N.J., June 12, 1947, Stanley Cobb reviewed progress in the previous hundred' years in neurology, psychiatry and neurosurgery.1 In 1847 specialisation in medicine was just beginning. While psychiatry was already developing, neurology was in the earliest stages and neurosurgery did not exist. After instructive sketches of the advances in the knowledge of the nervous system, its structure, physiology and diseases, Cobb considered neurosurgery, which did not begin until about 1900. The technics of neurosurgery—asepsis, anesthesia and hemostasis--were not sufficiently developed earlier, which was the case also with the clinical localization of lesions within the brain and the cord.

According to Cobb, Godlee in 1884 removed the first brain tumor " localized scientifically." Trepanning was done by the neolithic man; Hippocrates used the trephine with occasional success,