Chapter 12: the anatomical foundations of clinical neurology.Handb Clin Neurol. 2010; 95:149-68.HC
The chapter provides an itinerary of knowledge on nervous system anatomy as one of the pillars of clinical neurology. The journey starts from the Renaissance explosion on the approach to the human body, its functions and its diseases, dealing with the seminal contributions of Leonardo da Vinci and Vesalius. The itinerary proceeds through the contributions of the 17th century, especially by Thomas Willis and the pioneering investigations of Marcello Malpighi and Antony van Leeuwenhoek, and onto the 18th century. The itinerary thus leads to the progress from gross anatomy to the microscopic investigation of the nervous system in the 19th century: the reticular theories, the revolution of the neural doctrine and their protagonists (Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón y Cajal), which initiated the modern era of the neurosciences. The chapter also includes sections on the contributions of developmental neuroanatomy to neurology, on the history of tract tracing, and on the cytoarchitecture of the cerebral cortex. The never-ending story of the anatomical foundations of clinical neurology continues to evolve at the dawn of the 21st century, including knowledge that guides deep brain stimulation, and novel approaches to the anatomy of the living brain based on rapidly developing neuroimaging technology.