The Surgery of Brain Function

  • Peter H. Schurr
Part of the Ettore Majorana International Science Series book series (EMISS, volume 7)


As long ago as 1887 Dr. Hughlings Jackson found it necessary to define what was meant by ‘Brain Function’ and ‘Functional Charges’. Then, as now, the misuse of the word led to confusion. Jackson was the most far-seeing person of his day in matters of the structure and functions of the nervous system, and it is fitting that we should listen to what he had to say. In the lecture to which I am referring (9) he first dismisses the word ‘functional’ in the sense of hysterical or mere pretence. He goes on to say:

“I have long urged that the term ‘functional’ should be used as the adjective of the word ‘function’.... Function is a physiological term, it deals with the storing up of nutritive materials having potential energy, with nervous discharges (or liberations of energy by nerve cells); it has to do with rates of those liberations, with the resistances encountered, and with the different degrees of those resistances. Abnormalities of function are of two kinds, minus and plus. There are degrees from defect to loss of function .... We ought, I think, to endeavour to distinguish most carefully abnormal functional — that is abnormal physiological changes — from the pathological processes leading to them”


Cerebral Blood Flow Intracranial Pressure Brain Function Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Foramen Magnum 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter H. Schurr
    • 1
  1. 1.The Neurosurgical UnitMaudsley HospitalLondonUK

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