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  1. C Gardner-Thorpe
  1. Department of Neurology, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C Gardner-Thorpe;

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This website from the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation at the University of Illinois, Chicago, provides a good source of images for those preparing a talk on some neuroscience topics. One hundred and five names are listed and most entries are hagiographic—describing the lives of the saints, in this case our neuroforebears who were the best, the most famous, the fathers of their subject. Korbinian Brodmann made a good contribution but perhaps we would not all agree that “all confusion of brain area nomenclature disappeared with Brodmann’s contribution”.

Images and biographies are available on this site by using the menu to navigate between individual entries and the homepage, and this works well (in all but one cases). A great deal of time must have gone into preparing the entries but more rigorous editing is needed with regard to spelling (For example, Beckhterev (Bekhterev), Harry William Cusling (Cushing), Upsula (Uppsala), Peirre Marie (Pierre Marie), oligodentroglia (oligodendroglia), and, neruochemistry (neurochemistry), consistency of spelling (Salpêtrière and Lasegue both with varying accents), and grammar.

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The French neuroscientist Edward Actin merits a picture but without text or dates and John T Simon without dates. John Hughlings Jackson is found under Jackson, Hughlings, Cajal under Ramon y Cajal, Argyll Robertson under Robertson, Douglas. Charles Karsner Mills is mentioned in the entry on Spiller but sadly does not merit an entry of his own—but not everyone can be represented here, even though Mills was a pretty well known American neurologist and prolific writer.

The images are useful but there are traps for the unwary—Charcot’s lecture appears reversed left to right and James Parkinson’s house in 3 Pleasant Row is where he died (in 1824 not 1828) and not his best known home because the family house and practice premises were at 1 Hoxton Square. Bell’s Law is described in Charles Bell’s entry but Magendie is not mentioned; Magendie’s entry notes his repetition of Bell’s work which is correct if the argument about Bell’s description in 1811 is taken as the prime description; the point is that this important issue is not mentioned. Space is at a premium, though. Unfortunately Bell’s beautiful drawing of the facial nerve has not reproduced well and has been reversed too.

These are minor quibbles unless a speaker is relying too much on this site for accuracy. I enjoyed the site and commend it but with some caution in some areas. The Companion to clinical neurology by W Pryse-Phillips (2nd edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) provides a better source of data and 6139 references (the entry on Denny-Brown on the website provides one reference). Yes, downloading of images is a valuable aspect of this website and the ready availability of some data for quick reference. A large project that needs some more attention to succeed with aplomb—congratulations so far.