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February 1997

The Babinski Sign: A Centenary

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

Arch Neurol. 1997;54(2):124. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550140010005

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Dr van Gijn commemorates the centenary of the description of the Babinski sign with a short, interesting, and comprehensive work. It is a fine blend reflective of the author's interest in history, clinical neurophysiology, and neurology.

The book consists of 6 chapters. The first considers perspectives of body mechanics and neurophysiology before the Babinski observation. This is followed by an excellent account of his life and career. His professional association with Charcot and the academic politics that precluded him from succeeding to the chair of his mentor at the Salpêtrière are well presented.

The third chapter offers a detailed discussion of his 1898 paper that contains his observations of the extensor response of the great toe and the different neurological conditions in which this phenomenon was encountered. The subsequent chapter sets forth the numerous maneuvers applied to the sole of the foot by other neurologists to induce the phenomenon he

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