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Johann Cristian Reil on the 200th anniversary of the first description of the insula (1809)
  1. P Fusar-Poli,
  2. O Howes,
  3. S Borgwardt
  1. Neuroimaging Section, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr P Fusar-Poli, Neuroimaging Section, Institute of Psychiatry, 16 De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK;</aff>

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Two hundred years ago this year (1809), Johann Christian Reil, a German, psychiatrist and polymath, provided the first description of the insular cortex (insula).1 2 In the first edition of Gray’s Anatomy (1858), Henry Gray named this region “the island of Reil” in recognition of this. However, the insula has been given many other names over the years since Reil first identified it, including “the central lobe”, “the fifth lobe of the brain”, “intersylvian convolutions” and “intralobular gyri”.3 Reil’s discovery had an enormous …

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