ON NOVEMBER 11, 1918, an armistice ended the Great War. No single battle proved decisive; rather, economic and social fatigue overcame the German will to continue. Mechanized warfare on a global scale led to permanent political, social, medical, and scientific dislocations. Neurology was there.
The advent of large-scale modern warfare provided neurologists with an unmatched, if unwanted, opportunity. Technological advances in the treatment of shock and the prevention of infection meant that many more people survived war wounds. Neurologists made use of this gruesome natural experiment to learn the impact that bullets, bombs, and shrapnel had on the human nervous system. For example, Gordon Holmes1 described the symptoms of acute cerebellar injury based on his observations of wounded soldiers.
York GK, Steinberg DA. Neurology Was There in 1918. Arch Neurol. 1998;55(4):571–572. doi:10.1001/archneur.55.4.571
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