A short history of neurosciences in Austria

Institute of Clinical Neurobiology, Vienna, Austria.
Journal of Neural Transmission (Impact Factor: 2.4). 04/2006; 113(3):271-82. DOI: 10.1007/s00702-005-0400-7
Source: PubMed


Under the influence of pathologist C. Rokitansky the tripode founders of neurosciences in Austria were L. Türck as initiator, Th. v. Meynert as activator, and H. Obersteiner. They were followed by scientists like S. Freud, O. Redlich, F. Sträussler, P. Schilder, and others. The three Austrian Nobel laureates were R. Barany (1914, pathology of the vestibular apparatus), J. Wagner v. Jauregg (1927, malaria fever treatment), and O. Loewi (1936, together with Sir H. Dale, chemical neuro-transmission). Important neuroscientists of the early 20 th century were A. Schüller, C. v. Economo, A. E. Spiegel, E. Pollak, E. Gamper, J. Gerstmann, and O. Marburg. Major research institutes were the Departments of Psychiatry I and II (founded in 1870, merged in 1911, separation into neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychiatry of infancy and adolescence, later Institutes of Deep Psychology and of Medical Psychology), the Departments for Neuro-Psychiatry at the Medical Universities of Graz and Innsbruck (founded in 1870 and 1891, separated in 1995 and 1975, respectively), and the Neurological (Obersteiner) Institute of the Medical University of Vienna (founded in 1882, separation into Clinical Institute of Neurology and Center for Brain Research). H. Hoff, O. Pötzl, L. Kauders, F. Seitelberger, H. Petsche, F. Gerstenbrand, H. Bernheimer, W. D. Heiss, L. Deecke, W. Birkmayer, O. Hornykiewicz, and their associates added important contributions to many areas of modern neuroscience. Fields of research are neuroimaging methods, neuroimmunology, neurogenetics, molecular and cellular biology as well as neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders of the nervous system. The foundation of the Center for Brain Research of the Medical University of Vienna and projects for the development of neurocenters at the Medical Universities at Graz and Innsbruck are important steps towards an integration of Austrian neurosciences into the international scientific 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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Clinical Anatomy
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift
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