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History of Neurology
July 2001

Nineteenth-Century Contributions to the Mechanical Recording of Postural Sway

Author Affiliations

From the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Great Lakes VA Healthcare System, Tomah, Wis, and Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.



Arch Neurol. 2001;58(7):1147-1150. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.7.1147

In the first half of the 19th century, European physicians, including Marshall Hall, Bernardus Brach, and Moritz Romberg, described loss of postural control in darkness by patients with severely compromised proprioception. Late 19th-century neurologists developed instruments to measure and record postural sway in patients with neurologic disease. Principal American contributors were the neurologist Silas Weir Mitchell from Philadelphia, Pa, and his trainees Morris Lewis and Guy Hinsdale. The efforts of these neurologists anticipated later physiologic studies and ultimately the development of computerized dynamic platform posturography.

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