Posts tagged: neurology

Staff Finds: Yakovlev, Freeman, and Lobotomy

Paul Yakovlev

While processing the Paul Ivan Yakovlev papers, Center staff came across correspondence, below, between Yakovlev and Walter Freeman regarding lobotomy. The first three images contain discussions between the two about lobotomy, and the last three contain a request from from Freeman for a letter of support, due to an issue with his recommendation of lobotomy for child at Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital, and Yakovlev’s letter of support. Freeman performed the first prefrontal lobotomy in the United States in 1936 (a modified version of one developed by neurologist Egas Moniz) and later performed the first transorbital lobotomy in the United States in 1946. The first image below contains this statement from Freeman, about a month after the first prefrontal lobotomy:

Our latest excitement down here is the Moniz operation of prefrontal lobotomy in the treatment of certain cases of mental disorder like agitated depressions. The results are quite promising. Indeed, one case of agitated depression is better now than she has ever been in her life. I believe that it has great possibilities in the treatment of the disabling anxiety neuroses and early dementia precox.

Unfortunately the psychiatrists in Washington are not sympathetic to the procedure and we shall have to wait for a considerable period before assembling enough material really to be able to talk about it in terms of large numbers of patients treated.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev was a neurologist, researcher, and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School, as well as Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum (1955-1961). His research was focused on the physiology of early acquired or congenital cerebral defects. Yakovlev’s Collection of Normal and Pathologic Anatomy and Development of the Human Brain was started in 1930 at Monson State Hospital and numbered nearly 1,000 normal and abnormal brain specimens at the time of his death.

The finding aid for the Yakovlev papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev Papers Open for Research

By , April 25, 2018

Paul Ivan Yakovlev

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Paul Ivan Yakovlev papers, 1912-1983. The papers are the product of Yakovlev’s activities as a researcher, author, and professor and Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard Medical School. The papers include Yakovlev’s professional correspondence, writings, photographs and biographical records, and collected reprints.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev was a neurologist, researcher, and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School. His research was focused on the physiology of early acquired or congenital cerebral defects. Born in Russia in 1894, Yakovlev escaped the fighting of the Russian Revolution, ending up in France in 1920. There he worked with Pierre Marie at the Salpêtrière Hospital (1920-1921) and with Joseph Babinski at the Hôpital de la Pitié in Paris (1921-1924), and he earned his M.D. from the University of Paris in 1925. Yakovlev came to the United States in 1925, working with Stanley Cobb at Boston City Hospital and then the Monson State Hospital and the Walter E. Fernald State School. Yakovlev moved to Yale University School of Medicine (1947-1951), serving as Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of Research and Training at Connecticut State Hospital. He returned to Harvard Medical School in 1951, serving as Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology (1951-1955), Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum (1955-1961), Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology (1955-1957), and Clinical Professor of Neuropathology (1957-1961, Emeritus 1961). Yakovlev’s Collection of Normal and Pathologic Anatomy and Development of the Human Brain was started in 1930 at Monson State Hospital and numbered nearly 1,000 normal and abnormal brain specimens at the time of his death.

The finding aid for the Yakovlev papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

Paul Ivan Yakovlev, Alfred Pope, Bert Vallee

[CHANGE IN PROGRAM] December 18: Infant Science: Global Intervention and Production of Knowledge around Infant Mortality

By , October 28, 2014

CHANGE IN PROGRAM

Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, McLean Hospital and the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, present:

Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

“Infant Science: Global Intervention and Production of Knowledge around Infant Mortality, 1942-1965”

Emily A. Harrison, S.M.: Ph.D. candidate, History of Science Department, Harvard University

The last in a series of four lectures given as the 2014 Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine. The Colloquium offers an opportunity to clinicians, researchers, and historians interested in a historical perspective on their fields to discuss informally historical studies in progress.

December 18, 2014
4:00-5:30 PM

Ballard Auditorium, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

For further information contact David G. Satin, M.D., Colloquium Director, phone/fax 617-332-0032, e-mail david_satin@hms.harvard.edu

Norman Geschwind Papers Open to Research

By , October 20, 2014
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Norman Geschwind

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Norman Geschwind papers, 1941-1984 (inclusive), 1968-1984 (bulk). The Geschwind papers include his professional correspondence, drafts of writings and related correspondence, research subject files, and event records from his involvement in professional and teaching activities. The Subject Files series contains Geschwind’s research files on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s epilepsy, as well as aphasia, apraxia, and Gerstmann Syndrome.

Norman Geschwind (1926-1984) AB, 1947, Harvard College, MD, 1951, Harvard Medical School, was the James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the director of Neurology at Boston City Hospital (1969-1975) and Beth Israel Hospital (1975-1984). Geschwind’s research focused on the relationship between brain anatomy and behavior, including the areas of language and left-handedness, and the functional differences between brain hemispheres.

The finding aid for the Geschwind papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

The (Medical) Education of Charles Miller Fisher

By , February 15, 2014
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Glass plate negative of a brain section.

Staff at the Center for the History of Medicine are completing the processing of the papers of Charles Miller Fisher (1913-2012), a noted neurologist. The collection reflects Fisher’s activities as a practicing physician and neurological researcher.

Fisher attended medical school at Victoria University and the University of Toronto Medical  School. He entered Victoria University straight from high school; the medical degree tracks required no intervening BA or BS degrees. There were two options for students wanting to study medicine: Straight Medicine and Biology and Medicine. The former had a six year course, the latter, a seven year, including special instruction in science and the arts. Fisher entered the Biology and Medicine track with 25 other young men. According to Fisher’s recollections, the Straight Medicine track attracted more students: 120 men and 20 women at his matriculation.

The Biology and Medicine course (Fisher refers to it as “B and M” in his memoirs) included both pre-clinical and clinical work. Looking back, Fisher remembers particularly vividly the coursework in physics and anatomy: “The students’ nemesis was the practical examination when 100 human anatomical specimens of various kinds were laid out in orderly fashion on long tables and in an equally long procession the students advanced from specimen to specimen being given 60 seconds to answer the question posed…”

Fisher received a B.A. from Victoria University in Toronto in 1935 and his M.D. from the University of Toronto Medical School in 1938. He was born in Ontario and returned to Canada during the early years of his career; in 1954, he took a teaching post at Harvard Medical School and joined the neurology service at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Fisher spent the next half century at MGH and Harvard University, where he created and led the first formal Stroke Service. When Charles Miller Fisher, M.D., died on April 14, 2012, his obituary in JAMA Neurology reported that “the field of neurology lost one of its 20th century giants.”

The Charles M. Fisher papers will be open to researchers later this spring.

 

New Acquisition: the Anne B. Young Papers

By , January 9, 2013
Physician Photo

Anne B. Young, M.D., Ph.D.

Anne Buckingham Young (1947- ), B.A., 1969, Vassar College; M.D., 1973, and Ph.D., 1974, Johns Hopkins University Medical School, is a researcher, clinician, and educator in the field of Neurology. Dr. Young has acted as Chief of the Neurology Service at Massachusetts General Hospital and as the Julieanne Dorn Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School since 1991. She is the first woman to be appointed chief of service at Massachusetts General Hospital and the second woman to be elected president of the American Neurological Association.  Her research is focused primarily on neurotransmitter systems in the basal ganglia and their role in Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases; along with her late husband, John B. Penney, Jr., Young developed one of the most widely cited models of basal ganglia function.  In 2001 she founded the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease.  Dr. Young is the only person to act as president of both the International Society for Neuroscience and the American Neurological Association.

Young grew up in the North Shore suburb of Chicago and attended medical school at Johns Hopkins in a combined M.D./Ph.D. track. She and her husband, John B. Penney, took residences at the University of California-San Francisco in the late 1970s and began working with patients with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease. Starting in 1981, Young and Penney, until his death in 1999, were involved with the long-term study of a large family on the shores of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. The family had many and multi-generational incidences of Huntington’s Disease. The biological specimens from this study helped researchers in the United States to discover the genetic marker for Huntingon’s Disease in 1983 and the main gene in 1993. Young’s work has also resulted in a widely used model of basal ganglia function.

The Anne Young papers, 1969-2007, consist of grants and research records, correspondence, presentation and lecture materials, and other items related to Young’s work on neurodegenerative diseases. Notably, the Anne Young papers also include one of our largest acquisitions of electronic records to date – comprised of over 8 GB of digital images, manuscripts, and other files documenting Dr. Young’s work.

Discovery Fund Enables Research Access in Manuscript Collections

Negative 3049, Salpetriere Hospital records, H MS c30, August 11, 1899. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Making accessible our hidden collections is one of the most urgent challenges facing the Center. Through the Discovery Fund, the Center seeks to reduce the number of inaccessible and unprocessed collections by using financial gifts to create temporary processing support positions.

Harnessing 2010 Discovery Fund donations, the Center was able to transcribe and translate from French original index entries for approximately 16,800 glass plate negatives created at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, 1882-1944. Index entries, now in a Microsoft Access database, will increase access to this collection of international interest for which no descriptive information was available. The negatives are the product of the unprecedented use of medical imaging by revolutionary neurologist and psychologist J. M. (Jean Martin) Charcot and his disciples and are as important to the history of photography as to the history of medicine.

Discovery funds were applied to listing the papers of nutritionist D. Mark (David Mark) Hegsted (1952-1978), whose research demonstrated the effects of specific dietary fats and cholesterol on serum cholesterol levels. Hegsted, a founding member of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), among the first such departments in a medical or public health school in the world, was instrumental in the development of the federal “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

Ordinarily, resource constraints make it difficult to rapidly respond to researchers’ requests for access to unprocessed collections; the Discovery fund provides the flexibility we need to shift staff to the most in-demand collections at the point they are needed for research. Discovery funds made it possible to “process on demand” reproductive health giant John Rock’s recently acquired personal papers, 1915-1981. Rock, the co-inventor of the birth control pill, was the subject of a Center symposium in March 2009, when the collection of his professional records was opened to research. His personal papers, now being listed, will be available for use shortly.

Many thanks to our Discovery Fund donors. To find out how to join them, see our website.

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