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August Forel was Professor of Psychiatry in Zurich. He made the first complete section of the whole brain in 1875 and performed extensive neuroanatomical research. His collected works (1907) included description of the tegmental fields of Forel and the zona incerta. In 1887 he published one of his most important works, on the neuron theory describing cellular functional units within the brain. His investigations also included the anatomy of the thalamus and he described in considerable detail the trigeminal, pneumogastrlc, and hypoglossal nerves and the hypothalamus. One of the areas of the hypothalamus was named the ventral tegmental decussation of Forel. He was a wine drinker and possibly an alcoholic but recognised the problem and took a total abstinence pledge in 1886. In 1889 he founded an Institute in Zurich for the medical treatment of alcoholism and throughout his career he worked for social reforms to prevent mental illness, syphilis, and alcoholism. Forel was a strong advocate of the League of Nations. As an ardent pacifist he attempted to bring the first war to a close. He was also an entomologist and after retirement in 1893 devoted the rest of his life to social reform and the study of the psychology of ants. He had earlier studied the internal anatomy of ants and proposed a new taxonomy of these insects. Forel was honoured philatelically by Switzerland in 1971 in a series of stamps honouring famous physicians (Stanley Gibbons 820, Scott 536).
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