Article

A short history of neurosciences in Austria

Institute of Clinical Neurobiology, Vienna, Austria.
Journal of Neural Transmission (Impact Factor: 2.87). 04/2006; 113(3):271-82. DOI: 10.1007/s00702-005-0400-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Based on internal medicine and psychiatry and in close connection with pathology, the neurosciences in Austria began to develop in the 18(th) century, e.g. with the description of inflammation of the central nervous system by J. P. Franck (1745-1823) and the "phrenology" by F. J. Gall (1745-1823). Under the influence of the great pathologist C. Rokitansky (1804-1878), the tripode of the Vienna neurology - L. Türck (1810-1868), as initiator, Th. v. Meynert (1833-1892) the activator, and H. Obersteiner (1847-1922) as the founder of the Vienna Neurological Institute, presented basic contributions to the morphology and pathology of the nervous system. At the end of the 19(th) and in the early 20(th) century, they were followed by important publications by S. Fred (aphasia), C. Redlich (tabes dorsalis), F. Sträussler (CNS syphilis), A. Spitzer (fiber anatomy of the brain), P. Schilder (diffuse sclerosis), R. Barany (Nobel price for physiology and medicine 1914), J. Wagner v. Jauregg (Nobel price for medicine, 1927), O. Loewi (Nobel Price for Physiology and Medicine together with Sir H. Dale, 1936), A. Schüller (histiocytosis X), C. v. Economo (encephalitis lethargica and cytoarchitectonics of the human cerebral cortex), E. Pollak (Wilson disease), E. Gamper (mesencephalic subject), J. Gerstmann (Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome and Gerstmann parietal syndrome), H. Hoff with L. Schönbauer (brain tumors and surgery), and others. Major research institutions were the departments of psychiatry I and II at the University of Vienna School of Medicine (foundation 1870), unification 1911, separation into departments of neurology, psychiatry and neuropsychiatry of children and adolescents in 1971), the Obersteiner Institute in Vienna (foundation 1882, separation 1993), the university departments at Graz and Innsbruck, both founded in 1891, and other laboratories, where renouned clinicans and neuroscientists, like O. Marburg, H. Hoff, O. Pötzl, O. Kauders, F. Seitelberger, H. Tschabitscher, K. Weingarten, H. Reisner,W. Birkmayer, H. Petsche, F. Gerstenbrand, H. Bernheimer, H. W. Heiss, H. Lassmann, W. Poewe, L. Deecke, and many of their associates produced important contributions to wide areas of modern neurosciences. Important for the future are the foundation of the Institute of Brain Research at Vienna Medical University and of the Austrian Society of Neurology which will give further impact for the future progress of neuroscience research in Austria and its integration into the international science community.

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    • "This work would surely lay the groundwork for future neurologists and physicians in having a better understanding of vascular-related neuropathies such as dementia and stroke. Obersteiner was amongst the first neurologists to describe status epilepticus, reproduce epilepsy experimentally , and discuss the effects of traumatic spinal cord injury (Jellinger, 2006; Marburg, 1923). He provided evidence-based support that epilepsy had a genetic component and, in some cases, may be related to trauma (Marburg, 1923). "
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    ABSTRACT: Heinrich Obersteiner (1847–1921) was amongst the most influential neuroscientists in the 19th century. Born into a family of physicians, he gained early exposure to medicine, and as a medical student, he focused much of his research in neuroanatomy, eventually becoming a professor of neuroanatomy at the University of Vienna. Throughout his academic career, he focused greatly on neuropathology, and incorporated much of his research into his textbook, “Introduction to the Study of the Structure of the Central Nervous Organs in Health and Disease,” which was considered the foremost reference text of neurology for many generations of scholars. The culmination of his contributions to the neurological world can be seen as the Neurological Institute of Vienna, which he founded in 1882. Scholars from all over the world sought out his expertize and tutelage. While he was the director of the Institute, over 500 articles were published within the Obersteiner-Arbeiten. Much of this work helped set the foundation for the eventual development of neurology as a medical discipline. A review of his life will help us better understand the legacy Heinrich Obersteiner left in the field of neurology. Clin. Anat., 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Clinical Anatomy 04/2014; 28(1):5-11. DOI:10.1002/ca.22401 · 1.16 Impact Factor
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    • "Retzius, Sherrington, Waldeyer and Weigert, banded together to found the Brain Commission, the first international neuroscience organisation and forerunner of IBRO, the International Brain Research Organisation [18]. Waldeyer served as president from 1904 until the end of the Commission’s existence in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I [19] [20], while Obersteiner served as the Commission’s first vice president [14] [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In 1888, the Austrian neuroanatomist Heinrich Obersteiner, founder of Vienna's Neurological Institute, published his "Introduction to the Study of the Structure of the Central Nervous Organs in Health and Disease", a fundamental textbook in which he summarised the state-of-the-art knowledge available then on the normal and pathological anatomy of the human nervous system, incorporating many of his original research findings. The book became "the Bible for generations of budding neurologists" worldwide and was crucial for the eventual development of neurology as an independent medical discipline. In his early career as a neuroanatomist, Sigmund Freud wrote a review of Obersteiner's book for the Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift. That review was not included in the "Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works". The present article provides an English translation of Freud's review and further discusses its historical context, especially regarding the influence of Theodor Meynert on his two illustrious students, Freud and Obersteiner.
    Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 06/2011; 161(11-12):315-25. DOI:10.1007/s10354-011-0911-9
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