The Sherrington–Cushing connection: A bench to bedside collaboration at the dawn of the twentieth century

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

British physiologist Charles Sherrington (1857–1952) and American neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing (1869–1939) were seminal figures in the history of neuroscience. The two came from different worlds, one laboratory-based and the other largely clinical. Their scientific intersection, beginning in July 1901, provides a glimpse into a nascent form of “bench to bedside” collaboration, which carried with it the potential to extend the arm of neurophysiological experimentation from Sherrington’s laboratory to Cushing’s operatory. I reviewed extensive primary source materials archived at Yale University School of Medicine Library. Sherrington viewed Cushing’s bedside work as an opportunity, in humans, to extend his bench-side physiological observations on higher primates, at times almost directing Cushing in the clinic. Cushing would indeed take Sherrington’s observations on apes and extend them to his patients, and the work would eventually overturn the prevailing notion that the motor and sensory cortex were intermixed across the Rolandic fissure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-220
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Charles Sherrington
  • Harvey Cushing
  • history of neurology
  • translational research
  • twentieth century

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Sherrington–Cushing connection: A bench to bedside collaboration at the dawn of the twentieth century'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this