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J Hist Neurosci. 2012;21(2):127-31. doi: 10.1080/0964704X.2011.595632.

The life and times of Thomas Willis and his impact on contemporary medicine.

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Thomas Willis made numerous contributions to the neurosciences that were broad in scope. In an age of scientific breakthroughs and intellectual revolutions, Willis bestowed upon medical research the clinical rigor that set the stage for subsequent medical breakthroughs. In Cerebri Anatome, Willis introduced a measure of empiricism hitherto unknown in medieval times. By coupling the delineation of brain and neural anatomy with functional studies, Willis brought the science of clinical neurology into fruition. Psychiatry, too, benefited from Willis' elucidation of mental illness and intellectual disability, and modern behavioral psychologists claim Willis as one their early, most ardent champions.

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