Vol. 8 nº 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar de 2014
History Note Páginas: 79 a 82

Brown-Séquard: on neural networks and brain localization of functions

Authors Eliasz Engelhardt

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keywords: neural networks, network of anastomosing cells, dynamogenesis, excitatory activity, inhibitory activity, action at a distance, recovery

ABSTRACT:
The notion that the brain (encephalon) is a network of interconnected neurons has a long and memorable history. Cytoarchitectonic and hodological studies coupled with advanced neuroimaging techniques have produced a substantial body of knowledge on structural and functional organization. Acquiring the rich knowledge held today took a long and winding journey. Important advancements were made in the 19th century, with the remarkable Brown-Séquard figuring as one of the protagonists. Regarding the brain, he proposed nine mental and physical functions (organs) related to distributed cell clusters, interconnected according to their roles, the "network of anastomosing cells", dynamically submitted to "dynamogenic and inhibitory activities", and "action at a distance" concepts, the latter also related to his notion of "recovery". It is remarkable that someone was able to propose, ahead of his time, and with the limited technical resources available, such significant concepts that paved the way for the current state of knowledge.

 

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