A January Column in December

William Carroll, MD

A column of two parts: the first looking back on the success of the first virtual WCN, and the second looking forward to the future of the WFN.

This is my last President’s Column before a new administration takes over the WFN in January. I have drawn on the Janus theme as it is popularly believed January was so derived to be the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new year. Other interpretations emphasize the relationship of Janus to gateways. Yet others suggest the beginning and ending of conflict.

No matter how January was selected to be the first month of the Gregorian calendar, there is no doubt that Janus was Roman and it was Rome that was to have held the XXV World Congress of Neurology. Despite the pandemic, the XXV WCN was thematically Roman thanks to the Society of Italian Neurologists (SIN).

From the outset, members of the SIN were enthusiastic and energetic in their approach to the Rome World Congress of Neurology. Like everyone, SIN was extremely disappointed by having to move to a fully virtual World Congress of Neurology. The combined efforts of SIN, the WFN PCO, Kenes International, and the WFN resulted in one of our most successful congresses. Although having no comparable meeting to benchmark, I have listed below features generally acknowledged as outstanding achievements.

The Opening Ceremony featured thematic Rome as participants entered the congress through the Colosseum. Prof. Antonio Federico, president of the World Congress of Neurology, read the Papal letter of encouragement from Pope Francis as part of his welcome, followed by welcomes from Prof. Gioacchino Tedeschi, president of the Society of Italian Neurologists, and myself as president of the World Federation of Neurology. The ceremony concluded with Andrea Bocelli’s rendition of Ave Maria.

Photograph from the WCN XXV Opening Ceremony video showing the presidents of SIN, WCN, and WFN (from right to left: Gioacchino Tedeschi, Antonio Federico, and Bill Carroll) joined for the ceremony electronically while physically separated by half a world through the expertise of the WCN PCO Kenes International.

From the floor of the virtual Colosseum, participants selected from the Scientific Program, the Teaching Course Program, Poster and Industry Exhibitions. Most, if not all, appreciated the ease with which access to the program was gained and the quality of the lectures. Foremost among the lectures were those by Giovanna Malucci on Mechanisms to Medicines in Neurodegeneration, Alastair Compston on the Life and Times of Thomas Willis, Gero Meisenbok on Lighting Up the Brain, Peter Doherty on A Nobel Laureate Speaks about the Pandemic and many other outstanding plenary and topic lectures. Altogether there were a total of 10 plenary lectures, 67 topic and main topic sessions comprising 205 scientific lectures, and 49 teaching courses and workshops, which included 161 lectures.

With the six regional symposia, a total of 270 faculty provided these presentations. The 31 free communication sessions featured 233 presentations. A total of 2,298 abstracts were submitted and 1414 e-posters exhibited. We were again the beneficiaries of the excellent work by the Scientific Program Committee and its chair Chris Kennard. Another most pleasing feature was the number and age of attendees. A total of 4,459 attendees joined the WCN, 30% of whom were from Italy, 75% were from Western Europe, East Asia and the Pacific, and 32.5% were under 45 years of age.

This congress also supported a record number of 300 young neurologists to attend the WCN with bursaries provided by SIN and the WFN.

A popular feature of a WCN is the Tournament of the Minds. For this WCN, it was prepared by Dr. Nicholas Davies and the TOM Committee with slight variations to allow a virtual format. This year, a record number of 24 teams were nominated and the successful team was from the Kerala Institute of Medical Science. (See page 5.)

It is worth reiterating that the biennial World Congress of Neurology is the pre-eminent educational activity of the World Federation of Neurology and provides the federation with its principle financial support. Without the WCN underpinning the WFN, all educational activities are threatened. It appears that by the measure of net income, this XXV World Congress of Neurology will have been as successful as those held previously. We especially applaud the generous offer by SIN, and its president, Prof. Gioacchino Tedeschi, to contribute part of their share of the financial success to WFN educational activities. The WFN is delighted with both the financial and educational success of this first virtual World Congress of Neurology and acknowledges the innovative efforts developed and employed for its presentation by all concerned and by the attendees who supported it.

The WCN is also the most visible of the WFN’s educational activities and the press and social media reach for this WCN was extremely gratifying. A special feature in this regard were the informal daily “chats” by WFN trustees and others on each day’s program highlights.

In looking forward, and with apologies to George Santayana, Winston Churchill, and others, knowing what we have done and where we have succeeded and failed will provide guidance for the future. I do think we have learned many lessons in recent times and particularly during the pandemic. These lessons have changed how we operate, how we communicate, and how we will advance our mission to foster quality neurology and brain health worldwide. These are highlighted by the following:


We have improved enormously our ability to communicate, and we now have to do it. There is no doubt that the efforts to update and maintain updated contacts with member societies and regional organizations has underpinned a significant increase in the level of interaction within the WFN. This, and not having to travel, meant that there have never been so many member societies engaged in the COD. I have no doubt that this was due to both improved accessibility between the London Office and member societies and the interest in the WFN activities.

Process of Voting

In 2020, the WFN held its first elections electronically. Six excellent aspiring trustees competed for the trustee position vacated by Prof. Riadh Gouider, which was won by Dr. Morris Freedman. Such a number would have proved extremely, if not insurmountably, difficult if conducted by pen and ballot papers. The voting system adopted by the trustees known as Instant Run-Off (Full Preferential Ranked Choice) was proposed by Chiu Keung Man, the WFN IT consultant.

In 2021, the WFN electronic system was again employed. Prof. Wolfgang Grisold and Prof. Guy Rouleau were elected to be the next president and first vice president, the process adding an element of uniqueness. In both the 2020 and 2021 elections, voting was possible over several days, greatly improving the number of member societies able to contribute to this process. Hopefully, as we move back into a less restrictive environment, we may accommodate this process with a physical meeting. One of the laments of the electronic meeting is the inability to view, to listen to, and to talk with the candidates and their supporters. Holding the electronic voting process after the Annual General Meeting no matter whether virtual, in-person, or hybrid, would facilitate both such interactive activity and voting participation.

There will likely be a healthy discussion by member societies, member society delegates, and trustees on how to shape the best arrangements for the WFN Council of Delegates Annual General Meeting and elections, but the WFN has a proven and effective option for electronic voting in the future.

Electronic Education

Our move into a more electronic operational system has seen improvements and new endeavors. The website has been enhanced considerably through the efforts of the London Office and e-Learning Committee chaired admirably by Walter Struhal. New educational activities such as e-Learning Days with AFAN and the commencement of an e-Learning hub showcase two aspects of this new approach. The WFN/AFAN e-Learning Days have each focused on a specific topic whereas the WFN e-Learning hub provides great depth and breadth of quality educational information accessed through the WFN website. Expansion of the World Brain Day campaigns from July 22 alone to several months maximizes the message of each World Brain Day. The completion of the online Needs Registry survey, to which 117 member societies have contributed, provides a base from which to derive data to support advocacy campaigns to improve resources in areas of need. Our first steps into the public relations arena with the five module Brain Health Initiative is aimed at increasing the general awareness of neurology and the importance of brain health.

WHO and GNA Relationships and IGAP

In the same way that the WFN relationship with the AAN and EAN have flourished in recent years, so too is the WFN ever mindful of the importance of its relations with the Global Neurology Alliance (GNA) and with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The GNA contributes to the WFN efforts through its collaboration for themes, main topics, convenors, and speakers for the WCN, annually through the WFN World Brain Day and numerous other matters. Over the last two years, there has been additional collaboration between members of the GNA and the WFN at the World Health Organization.

First, the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) received strong support from the WFN for the development of a Global Action Plan for Epilepsy. This blossomed with the adoption of Resolution 73.10 by the World Health Assembly, which directed the WHO to prepare an Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders (IGAP). As part of the WFN contribution to this Action Plan, several submissions were made jointly by members of the GNA with the WFN. The ILAE, IBE, International Child Neurology Association, World Stroke Organization, International Headache Society, and International Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Society strongly supported submissions made by the WFN. The second draft of IGAP is due for completion shortly, and the WFN is indebted to the efforts made by all for this important outcome. As a result, the plan is now shaping to be more balanced and flexible in its approach to both epilepsy and all other neurological disorders. It is by any measure a landmark event, not only for people with neurological disorders, including epilepsy around the world, but also for the recognition the WHO has given to neurological disorders and in turn to non-communicable neurological diseases.

In closing, let me say thank you to all who have supported the WFN, its trustees, and administrative staff in its endeavors over the last four years and to wish the WFN and its new administration every success. It has been both an honor and a privilege to have served as president of our organization but above all it has been a pleasure to work with so many fine people. •

William (Bill) Carroll

President, World Federation of Neurology

Awards and recipients made during XXV World Congress of Neurology

WFN Medal for Scientific Achievement in Neurology  Prof. Jerry Mendell

WFN Medal for Service to International Neurology  Prof. Vladimir Hachinski

WFN Meritorious Service Award  Dr. Donna Bergen

WFN Meritorious Service Award Mr. Keith Newton

Munsat Award for Service to Neurological Education  Prof. Erich Schmutzhard

Angela Vincent Award for Young Investigators in Neurology Dr. Gianfranco De Stefano

Elsevier Best Research Paper Award Dr. Prajwal Ghimire

Elsevier Best Clinical Paper Award  Dr. Umberto Pensato

From The Editors

We’d like to welcome all readers to the November/December issue of World Neurology.

Steven L. Lewis, MD, Walter Struhal, MD

The issue begins with the President’s Column, where WFN President William Carroll discusses the success of the recent XXV World Congress of Neurology (WCN) 2021, held (virtually) in Rome, Italy. Prof. Carroll also elucidates the remarkable recent successes of the WFN and how well situated the WFN is for the future as Dr. Carroll hands off the president’s role to his successor.

Also, this issue features a report from the winning team, from the Kerala Institute of Medical Science, of the Ninth Tournament of the Minds held at the XXV WCN 2021. The team won among a field of remarkable international competitors in the first virtual Tournament of the Minds held by the WFN Tournament of Minds Committee. In addition, this issue includes a photomontage of submissions from attendees to WCN 2021, all including creative themes relevant to the location of the congress in Rome.

In this issue’s focus on the WFN Committees and Specialty Groups, edited by WFN secretary-general (and WFN president-elect) Wolfgang Grisold, Dr. David Vodusek and Dr. Max Hilz write about their leadership and workings of the Membership Committee and the Autonomic Disorders Specialty Group, respectively

In this issue’s History Column, Dr. Peter Koehler further delves into the history of the Rockefeller Foundation and the historical intersections of the fields of neurology and psychiatry. In a related report, Dr. Koehler invites interested neurologists from around the world to participate in the monthly virtual presentations every third Wednesday of the month, organized by the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN).

On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee for ICNMD Brussels 2022, Dr. Gauthier Remiche invites readers to attend the 17th International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases (ICNMD 2022), which will take place July 5-9, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium.

Dr. Morris Freedman, Dr. Wolfgang Grisold, Dr. Marianne de Visser, Drs. Lewis and Struhal, and Ms. Kimberly Karlshoej, discuss the status of the WFN eLearning Hub to provide virtual education to neurologists and neurological trainees across the globe.

This issue also includes a photo from the recent ceremony where WFN Past-President Professor Raad Shakir received the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales in Windsor Castle.

Finally, this issue includes a heartfelt obituary on the tragic and unexpected death of Professor Sergey Lobzin, chair of neurology named after academician S.N. Davidenkov and the leader of the popular “Davidenkov Readings” Congresses described in previous issues of World Neurology.

We would like to thank all readers for their interest in World Neurology. The editors also would like to take this opportunity to provide a deep thank you for the wonderful contributions that Prof. Carroll has made to the WFN, and for the impact he has had on neurology and neurological education and neurological care globally, as well for his contributions to World Neurology, throughout his remarkably successful tenure as WFN President during such an extraordinary time. •

17th International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases

The scientific and program committee will be constituted by a membership from all continents in order to cover this wide spectrum.The ICNMD is organized on behalf of the Applied Research Specialty Group on Neuromuscular Disorders of the World Federation of Neurology. Currently, the ICNMD occurs in two-year cycles.

The main goals of the congress are to offer to delegates an updated view, including major developments on the broad spectrum of adult and pediatric neuromuscular diseases that will cover basic science and clinical practice. Moreover, it will provide strong opportunities for networking in an ambition of worldwide collaboration.

Gauthier Remich

On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee for the International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases (ICNMD) 2022, we are pleased to invite you to the 17th International Congress, which will take place July 5-9 in Brussels, Belgium.

The format will be structured similarly to the previous ICNMD meetings, including plenary scientific lectures, teaching courses, workshops, and poster presentations. The congress will also offer virtual options for the course, including interactions with peers.

The main scientific topics that will be covered include:

  • Muscle diseases (myopathies)
  • Peripheral nerves diseases (polyneuropathies, mononeuropathies, cranial nerve disorders)
  • Neuromuscular junction disorders
  • Autonomic system disorders
  • Nerve and muscle regeneration
  • General/systemic diseases and cancer associated/related with neuromuscular disorders
  • Syndromic neuromuscular diseases, such as hereditary ataxias and hereditary spastic paraplegias
  • Transversal sessions related to next generation sequencing, new tools for clinical trials, innovating disease modifying therapies, innovations for rehabilitation, assistance devices, patient-related topics, pain, history, neuromuscular disorders worldwide, and palliative care.

Visit icnmd.org or contact us at icnmd2022@icsevents.com for more information.

Belgium and Brussels are linked to several historical figures involved in neuromuscular sciences. For example, Christian de Duve discovered the lysosomes in 1955, Henri-Gery Hers identified alpha-acid glucosidase as the deficient enzyme in type II glycogenosis in 1963, and Christian Coërs was involved in many contributions on the neuromuscular junction.

Special rates will be available for clinicians and scientists from low-income countries.

This year, the committees will also pay attention to promote the visibility of quality works coming from young clinicians and scientists submitted via abstract application that could lead to oral sessions. Students’ works via abstract application are encouraged.

We look forward to seeing you in Brussels!

On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee for ICNMD Brussels 2022 and the Belgian Neurological Society,  Gauthier Remiche (MD, PhD) Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles •

Rockefeller Foundation, Experimental Catatonia, and Herman H. de Jong

By Peter J. Koehler

In a previous History column (Issue 1 in 2019), I wrote about worldwide Rockefeller Foundation (RF) Support for neurology and psychiatry in the early 20th century. Particular attention was paid to the financial support of Beijing Union Medical College and the stay of neuroanatomist C.U. Ariëns Kappers (1877-1946) and neurologist Ernst de Vries (1883-1976) in the 1920s and 1930s.

Other activities of RF included the support by the foundation of neuroscientific institutions such as the Montreal Neurological Institute (1934, over $1.2 million), the National Hospital for Diseases of the Nervous System at Queen Square (London), Otfrid Foersters Institute of Neurological Research in Breslau (1934, the present Wroclaw in Poland), the Harvard Departments of Neurology (1925, $350,000) and Psychiatry (1934), and the Nieuw Leeuwenbergh, later named Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, in Utrecht, Netherlands (1927).

As said, the RF also endorsed scientific research in and the institutional organization of psychiatry., At the time, neurology and psychiatry were often practiced in a combined fashion.

Alan Gregg (courtesy National Library of Medicine, Alan Gregg papers)

Alan Gregg and the Rockefeller Foundation

Indeed, the RF interest in neurology increased during the 1930s when psychiatry, “embracing neurology and psychology” became a significant field of interest. Departments of psychiatry, as well as those of neurology and neurosurgery, received considerable sums of money. Moreover, “the foundation maintained a steady stream of fellowships for advanced training in psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery, and related subjects…”

These international neuroscience students included Margaret Kennard (1899-1975; see World Neurology June 2012) and Willem Verhaart (1889-1983), who spent time at John Fulton’s (1899-1960) neurophysiological lab at Yale University. With this experience, he wished to found a Primate Research Center at Batavia, the present Jakarta in Indonesia.

RF not only funded projects in the United States and Canada, but also research activities in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland., p.130-1 Refugee neuroscientists from Europe were helped by the RF only in a limited degree between 1933 and 1940, but this improved after 1940.

A person, who played an important role in the assignments of support was Alan Gregg (1890-1957). Between 1922 and 1956, he worked for the foundation successively as associated director in the Division of Medical Education, director of the Division of Medical Sciences, and finally as vice president of the foundation. He stimulated research in neurobiological correlates of psychiatric disorders. In his correspondence and diaries, many physicians with an interest in neurology and psychiatry are mentioned. One of them attracted my attention, notably Herman de Jong.

Herman de Jong and Experimental Catatonia

Herman de Jong was born in the Dutch city of Sneek in the northern part of the Netherlands in 1895. Following his medical studies at the University of Amsterdam, he worked at the laboratory for animal psychology of Frits JJ Buytendijk (1887-1974) at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Herman (Holland) de Jong (courtesy Antonio Subirana Oller Collection, Neurosciences and History in Images)

He spent some time with psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939) at the Burghölzli psychiatric clinic in 1922 in Zurich. Bleuler is the person, who coined the term schizophrenia for a disease that previously was named dementia praecox. De Jong wrote his PhD thesis on catalepsy and catatonia at the University of Amsterdam in 1922.

The following year, he took a temporary position at the Central Institute of Brain Research. Between 1928 and 1940, he worked at Bernard Brouwer’s (1881-1949) department of neurology at the Amsterdam University Hospital. In 1923, Brouwer had become the first Dutch professor of neurology after Johannes CA Wertheim Salomonson (1864-1922) had died.

De Jong was a frequent presenter at meetings of the Netherlands Society of Psychiatry and Neurology. He not only presented work regarding his catatonia research, but also on all kind of neurological disorders. He published in Dutch, English, French, and German. In 1930, De Jong won the Ramaer Medal of the Netherlands Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, together with psychiatrist Henricus Cornelius Rümke (1893-1967), who became professor of psychiatry in Utrecht in 1936.

De Jong assumed catatonia, as seen in schizophrenia, to be an organic disorder and tried to create it experimentally in cats using bulbocapnine, an alkaloid compound from Corydalis cava. Bulbocapnine was later shown to act as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Today, we know that catatonia is seen more often in affective disorders than schizophrenia. Moreover, it can be observed in several neurological disorders.

Presentation by Prof. K.H. Bouman of Ramaer Medal to De Jong en Rümke in Amsterdam, April 1930 (courtesy Beeldbank van Archief Amsterdam, Beeldbank (archief.amsterdam)

One of his teachers, namely Wertheim-Salomonson, helped him performing myograms in experimental animals and humans with catalepsy. At the time, in the concentrations used, this appeared to be normal. De Jong continued his research in Paris, where he stayed from March to June 1928 with financial support of the RF.

In his report of his stay in Paris, De Jong noted that “The person, who for the first time visits the Salpêtrière, one of the most famous centers of French clinical science, will not find the organized series of modern clinics and laboratories that one will encounter in other countries of the old and new world … and yet, it was here, where the great Charcot found his material”.

He studied chronaxie as well as experimental and clinical catatonia. He cooperated with neurophysiologist Georges Bourguignon (1876-1963), whom he called the “électro-radiologiste” at the Salpêtrière, and Henri Baruk (1897-1999). The latter was a neuropsychiatrist, trained by Joseph Babinski (1857-1932) and Achille Souques (1860-1949), who had already undertaken a systematic study of catatonia resulting in clinical data of many patients. He had concluded it was a psychomotor syndrome of toxic origin. Thus, with De Jong’s experience of the bulbocapnine experimental model and Baruk’s clinical research experience, they cooperated at Henri Claude’s (1869-1945) lab. They continued in Brouwer’s lab in Amsterdam.

“In this way, we formulated laws describing the stages that follow increasing doses, from sleep to catalepsy, from catalepsy to negativism, from negativism to hyper-kinesis, and finally, with still stronger doses, to epilepsy and the rigidity of de- cerebration”. They studied several sorts of animals up to mammals and described the results in their book La Catatonie expérimentale par la bulbocapnine: étude physiologique et Clinique., They concluded that the state inflicted by bulbocapnine indeed was similar to motor catatonia, including catalepsy, as first described by Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum (1828-1899) in 1874.

In 1925, he published “Further clinical investigations with Bulbocapnine” in cooperation with “G Schaltenbrand.” Georg Schaltenbrand (1897-1979) indeed researched the effect of bulbocapnin in Parkinson’s disease and became Oberarzt with Max Nonne (1861-1959) in 1930 after he had written his dissertation there in 1923.

He was discredited after World War II because of unethical experiments. From their experiments, De Jong concluded that “in prolonged administration Bulbocapnine is superior to Scopolamine” in the treatment of tremors (mostly Parkinson). He thanked “Prof Gadamer Marburg” who prepared the drug, probably referring to Johannes Gadamer (1867-1928), professor of chemistry, father of the philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002).

It included the effect on some normal a pathological motor phenomena including tremor. Some of the patients designated “Eppendorf” were observed in the University Nerve-clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf, where Schaltenbrand was working. In 1932, De Jong wrote on hormonal experimental catatonia, searching for another substance next to bulbocapnin that could produce similar catatonic effects.

Indeed, he was searching for a toxin in catatonic schizophrenia that he named catatonin, a substance that occurs in a benzole extraction of urine that is able to produce experimental catatonia, but the findings were confusing due to “the smoking factor.” At the time, he was working at the psychological lab of the Valerius Clinic and the Free University that was directed by psychiatrist Lammert van der Horst (1893-1978).

Other, but related neurological subjects, he published were about cortical action-tremor in a case of general paralysis of the insane. At the time, he was working at the “laboratory for clinical nerve-physiology” of Brouwer’s Neurological Clinic in Amsterdam. Furthermore, he published on post-encephalitic neurological symptoms, referring to his own research on tremors between 1926 and 1928, comprising about ten articles. In 1931, he presented his work at the International Neurological Congress in Bern. However, he did not abandon working on catatonia, discovering experimental hormonal catatonia, surgical catatonia, and mescalinic catatonia. He investigated intestinal and hepatic factors, leading to the concept of hepato-intestinal factors in catatonia and schizophrenia.7

Of interest to note is that the article on experimental surgical catatonia was written in cooperation with Alfred Gallinek (1901-1975) in 1935, when the latter was already working at the Columbia-Presbyterian in New York. Gallinek had been an assistant of neuropsychiatrist Alfred Hauptmann (1881-1948), professor and director of the Psychiatric and Neurologic Clinic of the German Halle, who himself fled to the United States, via Switzerland and England, after a temporary stay at the Dachau concentration camp. Moreover, in the same article, De Jong referred to a paper he had written in cooperation with (neuro) surgeon Fedor Krause (1857-1937) in the year that the latter was given emeritus status. His cooperation with European and American researchers bear witness of his extensive network.

De Jong’s Flight to the U.S. in 1940 and Gregg’s Diary

Henri Baruk (courtesy National Library of Medicine, http://resource.nlm.nih.gov/101410013)

Up to 1940, De Jong was a member of the Netherlands Society of Psychiatry and Neurology. In that year, he fled to the United States. The addition of “Holland” to his name (Herman Holland de Jong), may have been prompted by the common occurrence of the surname “De Jong.” At least one other DeJong became a neurologist, notably the well-known Russell Nelson DeJong (1907-1990), who, in 1940, was a young neurologist at the University of Michigan, to become chairman of the department in 1950. Although he too was of Dutch descent, they were probably not related.

In July 1940, Alan Gregg had lunch with him, probably in New York. He had already met De Jong in Amsterdam in June 1934 and knew about De Jong’s work on “praecox, especially catatonia” (as noted above schizophrenia’s old term was dementia praecox).

Gregg had seen a “beautiful demonstration of experimental catatonia in a cat and a mouse.” His interest in De Jong’s work should probably be understood in the context of RF’s attention for psychiatry.

“He is one of the few workers approaching resolution of praecox from chemical and physiological angle.” Regarding this lunch meeting with De Jong, Gregg noted in his diary, “Get material regarding his training and incorporate it in a letter to three or four places that might be interested in de J’s services … He has about $3,000 on which to live until he can find a position.”

Apparently, De Jong at first had plans to move further and go to the Dutch East Indies (present Indonesia), where Willem Verhaart was working. (See above.) Gregg advised him to do clinical work in the U.S. and talk with Tracy Jackson Putnam (1894-1975), co-discoverer of phenytoin treatment for epilepsy in 1938, who at the time was working at the New York Neurological Institute at Columbia University.

As vice chairman of the National Committee for Resettlement of Foreign Physicians in New York, Putnam was involved with immigrant physicians to the U.S. from Nazi Europe. A dramatic remark in Gregg’s diary is that “He [De Jong] knows nothing of his wife and two children’s whereabouts. Would be exceedingly grateful if I could write Brouwer [his Amsterdam colleague] intimating that J is safe in this country.”

A few months later, in September, Gregg noted that De Jong had learned “indirectly from Holland all is well with his family.” It has been told that his wife Marianna de Jong-Witteboon (1901-1985) refused to go aboard the ship to England in 1940, but the exact circumstances are not known. She and the two children, son Rudolf Herman and a daughter Evelyn Yvonne went to concentration camp Theresienstadt in 1944, but survived, returning to Amsterdam in 1946. They divorced in 1952. The children moved to the U.S.

As an aside, Gregg mentioned a letter to De Jong of Bielschowky’s widow, who “spoke with great appreciation of the aid B. received from the RF after leaving Germany.” Max Bielschowsky (1869-1940) was a neuropathologist, who fled from the Nazis in 1935, joining the University of Utrecht up to the German invasion in Holland in May 1940. He then fled to Spain and England, where he died in August of that year.

During the first two years, De Jong stayed in New York, working at the neurology department of New York Hospital (affiliated to Cornell University) and subsequently at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), where he must have met his previous co-author Gallinek. Several other European refugees had worked there. These included Franz Josef Kallman (1897-1965), who had been a student of Karl Bonhoeffer (1868-1948) and Hans-Gerhard Creutzfeldt (1885-1964) in Berlin.

Kallman wrote a book on the Genetics of Schizophrenia (1938) and led the Genetics Laboratory (1938-1961). Another refugee was Kurt Goldstein (1878-1965), who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1935. The first article that appeared in De Jong’s New York period was written in cooperation with Donald J. Simons on “fibrillation” (fasciculation) and tremor, a subject he had written about several times in his Amsterdam period. Simons was working at the New York Hospital and was assistant professor of medicine and assistant in psychiatry. Another article from his New York period, in particular at the NYSPI, was written with Louis Jacobs (1910-1989), who was at the U.S. Public Health Service (where De Jong was consultant for some time) and trained for psychiatry there.

In the Gregg diaries, we find information about De Jong in 1942, when he was trying to get a patent for a device to measure or detect extent of nerve injuries; “a machine from Dutch-American friends here in NY.” He found a position at Duke University (Durham, NC) offered by Richard S. Lyman (1891-1959), founding chairman (with RF support) of the Department of Psychiatry (1940), after Leo Alexander (1905-1985) left.

Lyman had worked at the Beijing Union Medical College (see above) in the 1930s. Alexander, of Austrian-Jewish origin, was a neuropsychiatrist, who became famous as medical advisor during the Nuremburg Trials. Gregg advised De Jong to accept the offer, as he did not see “that the RF would be prepared to give him any further help in his present position nor to promise it again in case he returned to New York after a period of time in Durham.”

Gregg assumed that his experience as a clinical and experimental neurologist would be sufficient to stay there. It would be better than staying in New York City, “where his chance of developing a clientele outside of Dutch emigrés is pretty small.” In Durham, he apparently continued his catatonia research considering his paper on the cephalin-cholesterol flocculation test in catatonic and other schizophrenics.

In 1945, he published his book Experimental Catatonia: A General Reaction-Form of the Central Nervous System and Its Implications for Human Pathology under the name Herman Holland de Jong. It received a review in Science by psychiatrist Jules H. Masserman (1905-1994), who criticized the dualistic and materialistic approach. However, he concluded that “the work represents a sincere effort to report an almost life-long series of studies by an alert, competent, and persistent investigator and, as such, will furnish significant data to those interested in the comparative investigation of normal and abnormal behavior by valid and promising methods of animal experimentation.”

In 1946, De Jong moved to Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland), where he was associate professor at the Medical School and worked at the clinical pathology department of the Catonsville State Hospital until 1948. He may have met the influential psychiatrist Adolf Meyer (1866-1950), who retired in 1941.

A paper from this period was published in the Knickerbocker Weekly of 1947. This was a Dutch and English journal for Dutch people, who had immigrated to the U.S. before and during WWII. It was published between 1941 and 1947 by the Netherlands Publishing Corporation in New York, situated in Radio City building of Rockefeller Center. It was continued as The Knickerbocker in 1947. He then moved to the Birmingham VA Hospital in Van Nuys, California, that had been built in the early 1940s for the troops returning home from oversea service. He became chair of the psychiatry and neurology department.

De Jong died at age 61, when he was director of research and education at Kansas Osawatomie State Hospital and probably planning to cooperate with Baruk in Paris again.7 He was buried in Washington (Rock Creek Cemetery), where the remains of the two children were added. He was a member of the American Academy of Neurology and American Psychiatric Association. In one of his obituaries, he is remembered as the “father of experimental psychiatry.”

Acknowledgements: I thank Diane B. Friedman, who provided me with the Gregg diaries (Index (rockarch.org). •

P.J. Koehler MD, PhD, FAAN, edits the history column for World Neurology and is chair of Specialty Group for the History of the Neurosciences for the WFN and co-editor of Journal of the History of the Neurosciences.

E-mail: pkoehler@neurohistory.nl or p.koehler@maastrichtuniversity.nl

His website is at: www.neurohistory.nl/


  1. Snodgrass SR. Stanley Cobb, the Rockefeller Foundation and the evolution of American psychiatry. Hist Psychiatry. 2018;29:438-455.
  2. Angel K. Defining psychiatry: Aubrey Lewis’s 1938 report and the Rockefeller Foundation. Med Hist Suppl. 2003;22:39-56
  3. Koehler P. “The orang lives almost next door” the correspondence between John Fulton (New Haven) and Willem Verhaart (Java). J Hist Neurosci. 2006;15:5-16
  4. Fosdick RB. The Story of Rockefeller Foundation. New York, Transaction Publishers (original 1952 Harper), 1989.
  5. Stahnisch FW, Russell GA. Forced Migration in the History of 20th Century Neuroscience and Psychiatry. New York, Routlegde, 2018.
  6. De Jong H. Een studieverblijf te Parijs. Ned Tijschr Geneeskd 1929;73:187-90.
  7. Baruk H. H.H. de Jong. Experimental Neurophysiologist. Science 1956;124:478.
  8. De Jong H, Baruk H. La Catatonie expérimentale par la bulbocapnine: étude physiologique et clinique. Paris: Masson et Cie, 1930.
  9. Starkstein SE, Goldar JC, Hodgkiss A. Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum’s concept of catatonia. Hist Psychiatry. 1995;6:201-7.
  10. Shevell MI, Evans BK. The “Schaltenbrand experiment,” Würzburg, 1940: scientific, historical, and ethical perspectives. Neurology 1994;44:350-6.
  11. De Jong H, Schaltenbrand G. Further clinical investigations with Bulbocapnine. Neurotherapie. Bijblad der Psychiatrische en Neurologische Bladen 1925: no.1-2:1-46.
  12. De Jong H. Hormonale experimenteele Katatonie. Psychiatrische Neurologische Bladen 1932; 304-6.
  13. De Jong H. Voortgezet onderzoek naar het gehalte van een in benzolisch extract van urine voorkomende stof, die experimenteele katatonie kan verwekken. Psychiatrische Neurologische Bladen 1934;38:914-20.
  14. De Jong H. Corticale actie-tremor bij een geval van Dementia Paralytica. Psychiatrische Neurologische Bladen 1932;36:494-9.
  15. De Jong H. Symptômes neurologiques post-encéphalitiques. Psychiatrische Neurologische Bladen 1936;40:505-17
  16. De Jong, H, Gallinek A. Ueber chirurgische Katatonie. Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Amsterdam, 1935;38:677-83.
  17. Krause F, De Jong H. Über die Lokalisation einiger motorischen Erscheinungen bei der Bulbocapnin-Katatonie. Zeitschr. f. die ges. Neurol. U. Psychiat. 1931;133:754-61.
  18. Zeidman LA, Ziller MG, Shevell M. Ilya Mark Scheinker: Controversial Neuroscientist and Refugee From National Socialist Europe. Can J Neurol Sci. 2016;43:334-44.
  19. Stahnisch FW. Max Bielschowsky (1869-1940). J Neurol 2015;262:792-4.
  20. Holdorff B. Emigrated neuroscientists from Berlin to North America. J Hist Neurosci. 2016;25:227-52.
  21. De Jong H, Simons DJ. A comparative study of fibrillation and tremor. JAMA 1942;118:702-5.
  22. De Jong H, Jacobs L. A contribution to the differential diagnosis of myoclonus. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1944;99:290-7.
  23. De Jong H, John J. The cephalin-cholesterol flocculation test in catatonic- and other schizophrenics. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1945;101:572-5.
  24. De Jong HH. Experimental Catatonia: A General Reaction-Form of the Central Nervous System and Its Implications for Human Pathology.Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins, 1945
  25. Masserman JH. Book review of De Jong HH. Experimental Catatonia: A General Reaction-Form of the Central Nervous System and Its Implications for Human Pathology. Science 1946;103:28.
  26. Schijns OEMG, Koehler PJ. Adolf Meyer: the neuroanatomist and neuropsychiatrist behind Meyer’s loop and its significance in neurosurgery. Brain. 2020;143:1039-44.
  27. De Jong H. A report on physical and mental health in the Netherlands after the war. Knickerbocker Weekly 1947; no. 4.
  28. Obituary H. Holland de Jong, M.D. (1895-1956). Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1956;75:573.

Prof. Raad Shakir Receives the Commander of the British Empire

On Oct. 20, 2021, WFN Past-President Prof. Raad Shakir received the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales in Windsor Castle.

For more details about Prof. Shakir and this honor, please refer to the article in the February 2021 issue of World Neurology. •

Report From the Winners of the Ninth Tournament of the Minds at the XXV World Congress of Neurology 2021

The Colosseum, an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, is one of the new seven wonders of the world. We, the winners of the Ninth Tournament of the Minds (TOM) 2021 at the XXV World Congress of Neurology, organized by the World Federation of Neurology (WFN), would like to thank the WFN and the quiz masters for the exhilarating sessions in a virtual Colosseum!

We enjoyed the adrenaline-oozing experience and winning the intellectual gladiatorial contest. “TOM” has given us fame and recognition akin to triumphing in a combat in the largest standing amphitheater. The show, like “munera,” was both informative and worthwhile.

Quiz masters made sure it was a level playing field by providing questions from different neurology subspecialties, flavored with images, histopathology slides, and videos, improvising at each turn. This kept us on our toes throughout the three days of quizzing.

It broadened our horizon, sharpened our reflexes, and gave us international acclaim. We salute the other contestants of this cerebral war who helped to whet our cognitive edges.

Our mentors and institutions were proud that we were trained appropriately to battle and emerge victorious in an international cauldron.

All four of us did our medical graduation in the same institute, Government Medical College Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India. We all did our MD in internal medicine (three-year course) followed by DM in neurology (three-year course) and subsequently did fellowship training. We are working in our subspecialities of interest (stroke, epilepsy, movement disorder, demyelinating disorders) as consultants at three different, though adjacent, institutes situated in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.

Dr. Suresh Chandran is at Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Dr. Ajith Cherian and Dr. Divya K.P. are at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences (SCTIMST), and Dr. Dileep Ramachandran is at the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram (TMC).

We train DM residents and post-doctoral fellowship students in our institutes. We believe that this colossal experience would help us in our future endeavors.

Once again, thank you for the exposure, and we look forward to meeting you all in the future. •

WFN eLearning Hub for Global Virtual Education

By Morris Freedman, Kimberly Karlshoej, Steven L. Lewis, Wolfgang Grisold, Marianne de Visser and Walter Struhal

The World Federation of Neurology (WFN) will soon launch a novel eLearning platform global virtual education. Called the WFN eLearning Hub, this platform will facilitate access and dissemination of freely available clinical and research educational neurology content in the form of high-quality rounds, teaching seminars, webinars, master classes, and related academic activities.

This will be accomplished by providing links to these events that will be hosted at centers across the world within WFN member countries. The goal is to span all neurological subspecialties. The content will be available live and as recorded videos.

The educational material will be freely available to all neurologists, neurology trainees, primary care health care workers, and other health care professionals across the world, and be updated with the addition of new material on a regular basis for recurring events such as teaching rounds.

A 6-month pilot will be carried out prior to fully launching the WFN eLearning Hub. The pilot will target a small number of educational events and will provide access to the following:

  • Epilepsy and Epilepsy-Surgery Case Discussions (South Africa)
  • Inspiring People in Neurosciences (India)
  • International Behavioral Neurology Videoconference Rounds (Canada)
  • Indian Academy of Neurology’s Master Classes and Fundamental Courses
  • Japanese Neuropathology Society’s Curriculum in Neuropathology
  • WFN-African Academy of Neurology (AFAN) Education Day on Stroke
  • WFN-AFAN, International Headache Society, Global Patient Advocacy Coalition: Education Day on Headache
  • WFN-FINE Neuroinfection Series (India)

The WFN eLearning Hub is a joint initiative involving the WFN Trustees, Education Committee, eCommunications Committee, and Standards Committee. It is designed to improve the level of knowledge among health care professionals globally and will greatly enhance the role of the WFN in international education.

Access to recorded material will be available seven days a week, 24 hours a day regardless of time zone. The goal is for the WFN website to be the “go to” source for neurologists and other health care professionals across the world for accessing neurological educational material from leading centers across the world. Moreover, the access will be freely available. •

Morris Freedman and Marianne de Visser are trustees of the WFN. Steven Lewis is a trustee of the WFN and chair of the WFN Education Committee. Kimberly Karlshoej is WFN strategy and program director. Wolfgang Grisold is secretary general and president-elect of the WFN. Walter Struhal is chair of the WFN eCommunications Committee.

Link to access WFN e-Learning Hub


Interested in the History of Neurology?

By P.J. Koehler MD, PhD, FAAN

P.J. Koehler MD, PhD, FAAN

Since December 2020, the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) organizes monthly virtual (Zoom) presentations, every third Wednesday of the month, usually at 10 p.m. (Amsterdam, 4 p.m. New York).

Meetings are recorded and sent to interested colleagues living in a part of the globe, where it will be night. Typical meetings last about one hour, including a 40-minute presentation, followed by a usually vivid discussion. Here is a short impression of what we have been doing during the past year

In December, we started with a lecture by Paul Foley, who has a PhD in the history of medicine from the University of Würzburg (Germany) and is currently scientific and research editor of Medical Journal of Australia. He published a comprehensive book on Encephalitis Lethargica. The Mind and Brain Virus (2018). His presentation was on the interesting history of the Schwann cell.

In January, we had a presentation on “John Yerbury Dent, Apomorphine and addiction(s): An Unfinished History,” by Manon Auffret, who is at the “Behavior & Basal Ganglia Research Unit,” University of Rennes, France.

In February, Marco Piccolini, who was professor of general physiology at the University of Ferrara in Italy, talked about “Scientists on the run at the time of the ‘racial laws’: the case of Giuseppe Levi and Rita Levi-Montalcini.” (figure 1)

Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini (Courtesy, Becker Library, Washington University, St. Louis (MS)

In March, we had Paul Eling (University of Nijmegen, Netherlands) and Stan Finger (Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri). They talked about “Gall, God, and Religion,” a presentation that aroused quite some discussion. Chris Boes, neurologist at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), who was recently appointed professor of the history of medicine, talked about “Harry Lee Parker: Games Lost and Won on the Playing Fields of Neurology.”

In May, Frank Stahnisch, professor of the history of medicine in Calgary, Canada, gave a presentation on “A New Field in Mind. A History of Interdisciplinarity in the Early Brain Sciences.”

Following the summer break, we continued in September with Gagandeep Singh, who is consultant neurologist associated with Dayanand Medical College & Hospital in Ludhiana, India. He gave a presentation on “The Visual Aura – Epileptic or Migrainous. A Historical Perspective.”

In October, Edward Fine, University of Buffalo, NY, gave his talk on “Origins of Comprehensive Care of Persons With Epilepsy in the U.S.”

If these subjects arouse your interest in the history of neurology and you wish to attend one or more of the meetings to come, see www.ishn.org or ISHN Monthly Zoom Meeting | Neurohistory.nl. Please send an email to pkoehler@neurohistory.nl. Persons who would like to present a lecture may write too. Open slots are available from May 2022. •

P.J. Koehler MD, PhD, FAAN, edits the history column for World Neurology and is chair of Specialty Group for the History of the Neurosciences for the WFN and co-editor of Journal of the History of the Neurosciences.

E-mail: pkoehler@neurohistory.nl or p.koehler@maastrichtuniversity.nl

His website is at: www.neurohistory.nl/

Forthcoming Lectures

Nov. 17 Georgina Chapman: The Story of Prosopagnosia: From a Curiosity to a Commonality
Dec. 15 Edward Reynolds: Robert Bentley Todd’s Contribution to Neurology and Neurosciences
Jan. 19 Rohit Das: Neurology During the Great War
Feb. 16 John Jarrell: Historical Contribution of the Ovary to Hysteria; The Paradox of Ovarian Compression Explored

In Memoriam: Sergey Lobzin (1958-2021)

Prof. Sergey Lobzin, head of neurology chair named after Academician S.N. Davidenkov died unexpectedly on Oct. 19, 2021, at the age of 63.

Prof. Sergey was born on July 9, 1958, in Kronstadt, the town and naval base on Kotlin Island, just west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. He graduated from the Military Medical Academy named after S. M. Kirov, the oldest higher education institution of military medicine in the Russian Federation in 1981.

On Aug. 18, 1982, he married Irina. Subsequently, he had two of his beautiful daughters, who were the most important part of his life.

After he served in the Navy, he specialized in neurology, and then was sent to continue serving in Afghanistan, where he was a military neurologist in real combat conditions. In 1993, Prof. Lobzin received his PhD degree in medicine and continued his scientific activities in different areas of neuroscience, paying the greatest attention to angioneurology. In 2006, he was titled as a professor and worked in the Military Medical Academy.

Prof. Lobzin completed military service with the rank of colonel. Further, he has headed the chair of neurology named after Academician S.N. Davidenkov since the foundation of North-Western State Medical University. He was also vice dean of the Therapeutic Faculty of the North-Western State Medical University named after I.I. Mechnikov, a member of the Presidium of the All-Russian Scientific Society of Neurologists, a member of the Presidium of the North-Western Society for the Pain Study, and a member of the World Federation of Neurology and the European Academy of Neurology, academician of the Petrovskaya Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Prof. Lobzin will be forever in our hearts as an honest, friendly, cheerful, and optimistic person, as well as the scientist with great creative potential and organizational skills. He trained many qualified neurologists. He was the author of many scientific papers (more than 300), books, and methodological tutorials for students and residents of neurology.

He began and actively developed close scientific and practical cooperation of the team headed by him as neurology chair with leading scientists from all over the world. The annual congress “Davidenkov Readings,” held under his brilliant leadership, has become a remarkable event in Russian scientific life. World famous neurologists took part in congresses with lectures. Every year, the “Davidenkov Readings” attracted an increasing number of neurologists and neuroscientists from the Russian Federation and other countries.

The sudden and tragic death of Prof. Lobzin is an irreparable loss not only to his family and colleagues, but also to the entire Russian scientific and medical society. The memory of this great scientist, teacher, mentor, and friend will remain in the hearts of his colleagues, friends, and followers forever. •

The WFN Membership Committee and the Autonomic Disorders Specialty Group

By David B. Vodusek and Max Hilz Wolfgang Grisold, editor

Wolfgang Grisold

Wolfgang Grisold

This issue of World Neurology introduces a committee and a specialty group, providing a better insight into the work of the WFN, and also providing opportunities to become involved in the WFN.

The Membership Committee is chaired by Dr. David Vodusek from Slovenia, who has outstanding experience in international scientific neurological societies. The role of the Membership Committee is to foster membership and provide care of members. Because not all countries of the world are WFN members, this role is important, as membership also fosters the development of neurology.

The Membership Committee and the Specialty Group for Autonomic Disorders have described their activity, and you will find outlines authored by the chairs below.

Prof. Vodusek: Dr. David B. Vodušek is emeritus professor of neurology at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Faculty of Medicine. He held the position of medical director in the division of neurology at the University Medical Center Ljubljana in Slovenia between 1996 and 2018, and continues as consultant neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist.

David B. Vodušek

Dr. Vodušek was born and raised in Slovenia. He received his medical degree (1976), and his PhD (1989) from the University of Ljubljana and trained also in the department for clinical neurophysiology, Uppsalla, Sweden, and the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, U.K. Dr. Vodušek was a visiting assistant professor at Baylor College in Houston, Texas (1982-83), in the New York University Medical Center, NY (1991-1993), and a consultant in Ibn Sina Hospital, Kuwait (1986-1987).

Dr. Vodušek is a member of the Slovene Medical Academy, the Slovene and German Neurological Associations, the British Association of Clinical Neurophysiology, the European Academy of Neurology (FEAN), and the European Federation of Autonomic Societies.

Dr. Vodušek‘s research interests include uroneurology, clinical neurophysiology, and peripheral neurology; he has authored more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed international journals, many chapters in international editions, and co-edited the 130th volume of the Handbook of Clinical Neurology series (Neurology of Sexual and Bladder Disorders).

Membership Committee

The mission of the World Federation of Neurology is to foster quality neurology and brain health worldwide, which is made easier by the fact that WFN represents 120 professional societies in all regions of the world, and each society registers its own individual member neurologists with us. Currently, there are 75 countries that are not WFN members. Of these 75 countries, 32 are from Africa, nine from Asia, one from Central America, eight from Europe, 10 from North America, 12 from Oceania and three from South America.

The enthusiasm for fostering quality neurology should bring to WFN all those wishing to better the fate of neurological patients worldwide and are not yet members. This goal WFN seeks to achieve by promoting global neurological education and training, focused particularly on the under-resourced parts of the world.

The purpose of the Membership Committee is to care for all aspects of membership: to scrutinize the eligibility of new members, to manage and process new membership applications by implementing the WFN membership regulations, and to provide strategic guidance to retain and grow the membership with the requisite knowledge, skills, abilities, and values to fulfill the WFN’s mission and goals.

It is a task of the committee to review and discuss any inquiry into matters pertaining to membership, and to help the WFN Ttrustees with decisions in such matters.

WFN will continue with efforts to attract new members: national societies or neurologists from countries that have not yet applied, acknowledging the fact that there are objective obstacles in many that cannot be overcome at this time (lack of a national neurological society, lack of neurologists, political issues).

The WFN hopes that existing members would participate in seeking solutions to bring new members to WFN, particularly convincing them of the value of being part of our organization. Members of neighboring regions would better recognize the different barriers for individual potential members to join the WFN.

To assist with considerations of neurologists in a country not yet being within WFN, a quote from the Articles of Association of World Federation of Neurology follows:

From the Articles of Association of World Federation of Neurology:

  • A national neurological society of any country which is not a Member Society may become a Member Society if recommended by the Trustees and approved at a meeting of the Council of Delegates
  • Five or more qualified neurologists resident in a country or countries without a Member Society or Member Societies may together form a group and that group may become a Member Society if recommended by the Trustees and approved at a meeting of the Council of Delegates

Applications from societies that do not yet belong are always welcome and should be sent in the first instance to the London Office. The application is a formal procedure, requiring several documents.

The committee has 10 members, which are listed on the WFN website at wfneurology.org/about-us/committees.

Specialty Group on the Autonomic Nervous System

The specialty group (SG) on the autonomic system has greatly expanded under the leadership of Prof Hilz, and is currently aiming for increased cooperation with other scientific societies to study and promote the autonomic nervous system.

Max Hilz

Prof. Dr.med.habil. Dr. h.c. Max J. Hilz, M.D., FEAN, FAAN specialized in neurology, clinical neurophysiology, neurological intensive care and disorders of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). He was professor of neurology, medicine, and psychiatry at New York University in New York, City, New York, chair in autonomic Neurology at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, U.K., and until April 2019 professor of neurology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.

Since June 2015, he is also adjunct professor of neurology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, New York. He chairs the Autonomic Disorders Research Group of the World Federation of Neurology and is past-chair of the ANS Panel of the European Academy of Neurology and of the Autonomic Section of the American Academy of Neurology, among others.

Prof. Hilz also serves as advisor to the European Medicines Agency, on issues related to the autonomic nervous system. He co-authored several guidelines, and he published more than 300 original and review articles in peer-reviewed journals, and book-chapters.

Specialty Group on Autonomic Disorders: Under-represented Though Omnipresent

Autonomic nervous system (ANS) disorders accompany almost every disease, be it just a fever or a fatal malignancy. Yet, ANS teaching during medical school and post-graduate specialization is coarsely neglected and often limited to a few hours.

However, our patients deserve that we know how to identify and alleviate ANS dysfunction because the patient’s quality of life deteriorates drastically if “standard” neurological signs and symptoms such as sensory loss, motor weakness, or spasticity are increasingly accompanied by bladder, bowel or sexual dysfunction, altered visual accommodation, compromised thermoregulation, hypo- or hyperhidrosis, or the inability to stand up due to lost blood pressure control, to mention just a few of the numerous autonomic disorders.

The WFN considers within its mission to provide the appropriate platform to promote neurologic training and standards, clinical skills, and education on a global level.

There are several societies and sections focusing on ANS disorders, such as the American Autonomic Society, the European Federation of Autonomic Societies, or the ANS sections within the European Academy of Neurology, and the American Academy of Neurology. Yet, the WFN seems best suited to advance ANS teaching and training on a global level, and thus to foster the mission of its still fledgling Autonomic Disorders Subspecialty Group (ADSG).

ANS sessions and teaching courses repeatedly had been part of the bi-annual World Congress of Neurology (WCN). Currently, the ADSG has 55 members, including 20 women and 35 men from 20 different countries. The executive committee is listed on the WFN website.

During the 2021 WCN, the ADSG enjoyed the privilege of hosting two autonomic teaching courses, three main topic sessions with a total of 12 lectures, a 90-minute ANS session with oral presentations, and the presentation of 20 excellent autonomic posters with topics covering most autonomic fields. The ADSG wants to promote diagnostic procedures that can be applied in daily routine by any general neurologist. We also intend to support physicians who plan ANS research studies. We hope to be able to organize visits of junior researchers to leading autonomic centers where they can learn more sophisticated procedures.

The committee has 11 executive members listed on the WFN at wfneurology.org/about-us/wfn-specialty-groups. •