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September 8, 1962


JAMA. 1962;181(10):895-896. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050360081018

The Bell-Magendie controversy, regarding priority of the differentiation of sensory and motor function of peripheral nerves, appears to have aroused deeper sentiments among medical historians and friends than among the individuals directly concerned.1 The contributions of Sir Charles Bell, the most famous neurologist of the Edinburgh school, have been related on these pages (May 27, p. 683, 1961). The second member of the Scots-French doublet was a leader of the brilliant school of Parisian physiology and medicine in the 19th century. His confederates included Bernard, Dupuytren, Bichat, Corvisart, Laennec, Louis, and Cruveilhier. The time was a critical period of French history near the end of the French Revolution and during the formative years of the establishment of the French Republic. Magendie's writings reflect little of the turbulent political passions. He appears to have been completely absorbed in physiologic investigations, teaching, and clinical medicine.

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