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November 2013

The 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The Neurological Perspective

Author Affiliations
  • 1Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Charing Cross Hospital, London, United Kingdom
  • 2UCL Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
JAMA Neurol. 2013;70(11):1353-1354. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.4042

The systematic classification of human disease has its origins in the early 18th century with the publication of Nosologia Methodica by the French physician and botanist François Bossier de Lacroix. However, the modern foundation was laid almost 2 centuries later with Jacques Bertillon’s classification of the causes of death, the forerunner to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The Bertillon classification was based on the principle of distinguishing between general diseases and those localized to a particular organ or anatomical site.1 His classification was adopted by several countries, including the United States in 1897 following a recommendation by the American Public Health Association, which also recognized the need for periodic revisions.2 The first 6 revisions occurred on a decennial basis under the auspices of the French government until 1948, when the World Health Organization (WHO) assumed responsibility for all subsequent revisions of the classification.