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Encyclopedia > Victor Horsley

Sir Victor Alexander Haden Horsley (April 14, 1857-July 16, 1916) was an accomplished scientist and professor. He was born in London. He was educated at Cranbrook School, Kent and studied medicine at University College London and in Berlin, Germany (1881), and in the same year started his career as a house surgeon and registrar at the University College Hospital. From 1884 to 1890 Horsley was Professor-Superintendent of the Brown Institute. In 1886 he was appointed as Assistant Professor of Surgery at the National Hospital for Paralysis and Epilepsy, and as a Professor of Pathology (1887-1896) and Professor of Clinical Surgery (1899-1902) at University College London. Sir Victor Alexander Haden Horsley File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... April 14 is the 104th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (105th in leap years). ... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... July 16 is the 197th day (198th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 168 days remaining. ... 1916 is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January-February January 1 -The first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled. ... St Stevens Tower - The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster which contains Big Ben London (see also different names) is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ... Cranbrook Kingswood is a private, K-12 school located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... NLM (National Library of Medicine, contains resources for patients and healthcare professionals) Virtual Hospital (digital health sciences library by the University of Iowa) Online Medical Dictionary Collection of links to free medical resources Wikicities has a wiki about medicine: Medicine Categories: Medicine | Health ... University College London, commonly known as UCL, is one of the colleges that make up the University of London. ...   Berlin? (pronounced: , German ) is the capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,426,000 inhabitants (as of January 2005); down from 4. ... Categories: Stub | London hospitals ... Brown College is a technical college in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, part of the Twin Cities region. ... The first hospital of its kind in England, it was dedicated exclusively to treating the diseases of the nervous system, and was located at Queen Square, in London. ...

Horsley specialized in surgery and in physiology. He was the first physician to remove a spinal tumor, in 1887, by means of a laminectomy. He developed many practical neurosurgical techniques, including the hemostatic bone wax, the skin flap, the ligation of the carotid artery to treat cerebral aneurysms, the transcranial approach to the pituitary gland and the intradural division of the trigeminal nerve root for the surgical treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. A typical modern surgery operation For other meanings of the word, see Surgery (disambiguation) Surgery (from the Greek cheirourgia - lit. ... Physiology (in Greek physis = nature and logos = word) is the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of living organisms. ... Spinal tumors are located in the spinal cord and are mostly metastases from primary cancers elsewhere (commonly breast, prostate and lung cancer). ... Laminectomy is a surgical procedure for treating spinal stenosis by relieving pressure on the spinal cord. ... The carotid artery is a major artery of the head and neck. ... An aneurysm (or aneurism) (from Greek ανευρυσμα, a dilatation) is a localized dilation or ballooning of a blood vessel. ... Located at the base of the skull, the pituitary gland is protected by a bony structure called the sella turcica. ... The trigeminal nerve is the fifth (V) cranial nerve, and carries sensory information from most of the face, as well as motor supply to the muscles of mastication (the muscles enabling chewing), tensor tympani (in the ear) and other muscles in the floor of the mouth. ... Trigeminal neuralgia is a neuropathic disorder of the trigeminal nerve that causes episodes of intense pain in the eyes, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, upper jaw, and lower jaw. ...

As a neuroscientist, he carried out studies of the functions of the brain in animals and humans, particularly on the cerebral cortex. His studies on motor response to faradic electrical stimulation of the cerebral cortex, internal capsule and spinal cord became classics of the field. These studies were later translated to his pioneering work in the neurosurgery for epilepsy. Horsley was also the first to use intraoperative electrical stimulation of the cortex for the localization of epileptic foci in humans, between 1884 and 1886, preceding Fedor Krause and Wilder Penfield. In the anatomy of animals, the brain, or encephalon, is the supervisory center of the nervous system. ... Location of the Cerebral cortex Slice of the Cerebral cortex, ca. ... The internal capsule is an area of white matter in the brain that separates the caudate nucleus and the thalamus from the lenticular nucleus. ... The spinal cord is a part of the vertebrate nervous system that is enclosed in and protected by the vertebral column (it passes through the spinal canal). ... Neurosurgery is the surgical discipline focused on treating those central and peripheral nervous system diseases ammenable to mechanical intervention. ... Wilder Graves Penfield (January 25/26, 1891 - April 5, 1976) was a American-born Canadian neurosurgeon. ...

He was also a pioneer in the study of the functions of the thyroid gland. He studied myxedema and cretinism, which are caused by a decreased level of the thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), and established for the first time that they could be treated with extracts of the gland, in experiments with monkeys. Hypothyroidism is a pathologic state caused by insufficient secretion of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. ... Cretinism is a congenital form of deficiency of thyroid hormones, retarding mental and physical growth. ...

Appointed in 1886 as secretary to a governmental commission formed to study the anti-rabies vaccine developed by Louis Pasteur, Sir Victor Horsley corroborated his results and created a campaign to vaccine against rabies in the United Kingdom. As a pathologist, Sir Victor carried out research on bacteria and founded the Journal of Pathology. A bottle and a syringe containing the influenza vaccine. ... Louis Pasteur (December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French microbiologist and chemist. ...

His best known innovation is the Horsley-Clarke apparatus (developed together with Robert H. Clarke in 1908) for performing the so-called stereotactic neurosurgery, whereby a set of precise numerical coordinates are used to locate each brain structure. He was a pioneer in neurosurgery, having operated upon 44 patients. The Horsley-Clarke apparatus is a device invented in 1908 by British neurosurgeon and scientist Sir Victor A.H. Horsley and his colleague Robert H. Clarke at University College London to allow experimental and surgical intervention in deep-seated structures of the brain in vertebrates. ...

He authored the book Functions of the Marginal Convolutions (1884) and, as a co-author, Experiments upon the Functions of the Cerebral Cortex (1888) and Alcohol and the Human Body (1902).

According to his biographers, Tan & Black (2002), "Horsley's kindness, humility, and generous spirit endeared him to patients, colleagues, and students. Born to privilege, he was nonetheless dedicated to improving the lot of the common man and directed his efforts toward the suffrage of women, medical reform, and free health care for the working class (...) An iconoclast of keen intellect, unlimited energy, and consummate skill, his life and work justify his epitaph as a "pioneer of neurological surgery." An iconoclast originally referred to a person who destroyed icons, that is, sacred paintings or sculpture. ...

Victor Horsley was knighted in 1902.

In the oubreak of the First World War, Sir Victor requested for active duty in the Western Front, but was posted in 1915 as a colonel and Director of Surgery of the British Army Medical Service in Egypt, in the Dardanelles Campaign. In the following year he volunteered for field surgery duty in Mesopotamia, where he died unexpectedly in Amarah, Iraq, on July 16, 1916, of heatstroke and severe hyperpyrexia, at only 59 years of age. Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Battle of Gallipoli Conflict First World War Date 19 February 1915 - 9 January 1916 Place Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey Result Ottoman victory The Battle of Gallipoli took place on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War. ... Mesopotamia (Greek: Μεσοποταμία, translated from Old Persian Miyanrudan the Land between the Rivers or the Aramaic name Beth-Nahrin House of Two Rivers) is a region of Southwest Asia. ... Amarah (sometimes written al-Amarah), is a city in southeastern Iraq, located next to the Tigris River waterway south of Baghdad, at 32°10N 46°03E. Predominately Shiite, it had a population of about 340,000 as of 2002. ... July 16 is the 197th day (198th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 168 days remaining. ... 1916 is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January-February January 1 -The first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled. ... Hyperthermia is an acute condition resulting from excessive exposure to heat, it is also known as heat stroke or sunstroke. ... In medicine, hyperpyrexia is an excessive and unusual elevation of body temperature above 42 °C, or high fever (also called a hyperthermia). ...


  • Tan TC, Black PM.: Sir Victor Horsley (1857-1916): pioneer of neurological surgery. Neurosurgery. 2002 Mar;50(3):607-11.
  • Hanigan WC: Obstinate valour: the military service and death of Sir Victor Horsley. Br J Neurosurg. 1994;8(3):279-88.


From: The History of Psychosurgery
By: Renato M.E. Sabbatini, PhD
Brain & Mind Magazine, June 1997
Reprinted by permission. Renato M.E. Sabbatini Renato Marcos Endrizzi Sabbatini, Brazilian biomedical and computer scientist, educator, science writer, entrepreneur and administrator, born in Campinas, State of São Paulo, Brazil, on 20 February 1947. ...



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