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Book Reviews
August 2009

Joseph Babinski: A Biography

Arch Neurol. 2009;66(8):1042-1044. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009.160

Almost every physician knows Joseph Babinski (1857-1932) for the “sign,” ie, the toe phenomenon he described in 1896 and 1898. The degree to which Babinski significantly influenced clinical neurology was demonstrated by his friends and colleagues (John Fulton: “the living incarnation of Charcot”) immediately after his death in 1932 and by the centenary commemoration of his birthday in 1957. Now, looking back on his 150th birthday, the new book on Babinski is by far the most extensive presentation of his life and work. Philippon is the former director of the Department of Neurosurgery and Poirier is the former director of the Department of Histology at the Pitié-Salpêtrière. In the writing of this book, they were assisted by neurologists for the clinical chapters. Philippe Ricou provided relevant information on the Babinski sign and on reflexes as well as on cerebellar and vestibular symptoms and Christian Derouesné, on hysteria. Christopher G. Goetz (Chicago, Illinois), known as one of the authors of the classic work on Jean-Martin Charcot,1wrote the foreword.

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