New issue – Journal of the History of the Neurosciences


A new issue of the Journal for the History of the Neurosciences is now out and includes the following articles:

“Salomon Henschen’s Short-Lived Project of an ‘Academia Neurologica Internationalis’ (1929) for the Revival of the International Brain Commission: Documents from the Cécile and Oskar Vogt Archives”
(Bernd Holdorff)

The abstract reads:

In 1929, at the age of 82, the Swedish neurologist Salomon Henschen (1847-1930) planned an Academia Neurologica Internationalis. The exchanged letters with Ceacutecile and Oskar Vogt suggest that there was a great number of neuroscientists internationally who approved of the project. However, during three months of preparation, the initial skepticism increased and, although the invitation to the conference had already been printed, it had to be revoked. The endeavors to revive the Brain Commission failed. Two other projects nonetheless did take shape: the founding of one of the largest and most modern brain research institutes in 1931 by the Vogts and the first International Neurological Congress in Berne that same year. For decades, the Brain Commission remained without successors until the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) was founded in 1961.

“The Search for an Endogenous Schizogen: The Strange Case of Taraxein” (Alan Baumeister)

The abstract reads:

In 1956, Dr. Robert Galbraith Heath, Chair of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, announced that he and colleagues had discovered a protein they called taraxein in the blood of schizophrenic patients that caused symptoms of schizophrenia when injected into healthy volunteers. Heath’s claim received wide public and professional attention. Researchers quickly tried to confirm the discovery. These efforts, which were rigorous and in some cases conducted in consultation with the Tulane researchers, failed. Nevertheless, for the next four decades Heath continued to defend his claim. This article recounts the scientific developments that led up to Heath’s putative discovery and it explores the scientific findings for and against the taraxein theory of schizophrenia.

“Gall’s Visit to the Netherlands” (Paul Eling, Douwe Draaisma and Matthijs Conrad)

The abstract reads:

In March 1805, Franz Joseph Gall left Vienna to start what has become known as his cranioscopic tour. He traveled through Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands. In this article, we will describe his visit to The Netherlands in greater detail, as it has not yet received due attention. Gall was eager to go to Amsterdam because he was interested in the large collection of skulls of Petrus Camper. Gall presented a series of lectures, reports of which can be found in a local newspaper and in a few books, published at that time. We will summarize this material. We will first outline developments in the area of physiognomy, in particular in The Netherlands, and what the Dutch knew about Gall’s doctrine prior to his arrival. We will then present a reconstruction of the contents of the lectures. Finally, we will discuss the reception of his ideas in the scientific community.

More information, as well as a complete table of contents, can be found here.

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