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J Hist Neurosci. 2010 Oct;19(4):313-32. doi: 10.1080/09647040903384473.

The Moscow Colloquium on Electroencephalography of Higher Nervous Activity and its impact on international brain research.

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Institute for the History of Medicine, the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, Russia.


Late 1950s was a period of recognition of Russian neurophysiology by international neuroscience community and vice versa. This process of "opening windows in both directions" might be illustrated by the story of The Moscow Colloquium on Electroencephalography of Higher Nervous Activity. The Colloquium took place on October 6-11, 1958 at the House of Scientists in Moscow. It was organized by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR under the initiative of the Institute for Higher Nervous Activity and focused on (a) EEG correlates of cortical excitation and inhibition; (b) electrophysiological study of different brain structures and their role in conditioned reflexes; and (c) EEG of higher nervous activity in humans. At the final session it was suggested to launch an International Year for the Study of the Brain and to ask UNESCO for international coordination of brain research. This resulted into the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) founded in 1960. This article is based on unpublished records of international contacts of Soviet neurophysiologists and organization of the Moscow Colloquium from the Archive of Russian Academy of Science (ARAN), reports in Soviet periodicals, publications in obscure Festschriften, etc.

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