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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The contributions of Otfrid Foerster (1873-1941) to neurology and neurosurgery.

BEST REMEMBERED FOR his description of the dermatomes in man, Otfrid Foerster was also an adept neurosurgeon and an innovative experimental neurophysiologist. As a neurologist, his contributions included conceptualizing rhizotomy as a cure for spasticity, anterolateral cordotomy for pain, the hyperventilation test in epilepsy, Foerster's syndrome, and the first electrocorticogram of a brain tumor. As a neurosurgeon, Foerster was able to excise intraventricular, hypophyseal, and quadrigeminal lesions and to perform epilepsy surgery under primitive conditions without clips, diathermy, or suction. The results were good and reflected his consummate knowledge of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. As an investigator, Foerster emphasized clinically orientated neurophysiology and was able to forge a link between his observations and proposed methods of treatment. A prolific writer, he published more than 300 scientific monographs encompassing every aspect of the nervous system, including tabes, movement disorders, spasticity, extrapyramidal diseases, dermatomes, epilepsy, cortical localization, brain tumors, peripheral nerve injuries, and pain. Foerster's superb command of languages led to his popularity as a speaker in Europe and North America. Students who flocked to learn from his encyclopedic knowledge and skill were privy to Foerster's legendary hospitality and charm. A man of delicate constitution, he was single-minded in his quest to unravel the mysteries of the nervous system. The inscription "Patriae scientiae inserviendo" or "In the service of science and Fatherland" was chosen by Foerster for his Institute of Neurology and is a fitting memorial to this neurosurgical giant.[1]


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