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Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2001;77(1-4):20-4.

The neuron theory.

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Division of Neurosurgery, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York, NY 10010, USA.


In 1740 the Swedish scientist and philosopher Emmanuel Swedenborg described what is the first known anticipation of the neuron (a nerve cell with its processes). One hundred years later Ehrenberg, Remak and Purkinje recognized the nerve cell as the important element of the nervous system and provided its first accurate description. Vilhelm von Waldeyer in 1891 proposed to call the unit 'neuron' from the Greek word for 'sinew'. The 'neuron theory' or 'neuron doctrine', which emerged at the end of the 19th century, asserts that nerve tissue is composed of individual cells, which are genetic, anatomic, functional and trophic units. The pioneers of the neuron doctrine included neuroscientists, physicians, a polar explorer and three Nobel Laureates. The classic neuron doctrine has served well as the theoretical basis for the great advances in our current understanding of the cellular basis of nervous system functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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