Chapter 42 Neurology and the neurological sciences in the German-speaking countries
Early neurology in German-speaking countries evolved aside from mainstream medicine. Animists like Stahl in the 18th century saw the soul as the cause of health and disease, and the later Vitalists insisted on life-force as the specific property of living beings, contrary to skeptics like Albrecht von Haller, whose neurophysiology they left behind. Following Willis, they studied brain tracts and speculated about reflex action. They experimented with electrotherapy, and later devised early theories of electric nerve action. The controversial medical theories of animal magnetism and phrenology also advanced brain research and clinical neurology together with their sectarian programs, which seem absurd today. The impact on natural science and medicine of the last great Vitalist, Johannes Müller, and his mechanistic students such as Remak, Schwann, Schleiden, Helmholtz, Ludwig, Brücke, Virchow, Koelliker, and Wundt was unparalleled. They provided the anatomical and physiological infrastructure for the growth of neurology. From 1845 far into the 20th century, psychiatry and neurology evolved together. Neuropsychiatrists cared for their mental patients during the day, and studied their brain tissue slides at night, as in the case of Alzheimer and Nissl. Major advances in brain research were achieved by the hypnotists Forel and Vogt, and modern psychiatry was launched by the typical neuropsychiatrists Kraepelin, Moebius, Bleuler, and Adolf Meyer.