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Flourens, (Marie Jean) Pierre

loss found cerebellum causes

[floorãs] (1794–1867) French anatomist and physiologist: early experimental physiologist.

Flourens qualified in medicine in 1813 at Mont-pellier and then went to Paris, where befriended him, secured teaching and research posts for him and ensured that after his own death his appointments would pass to Flourens.

From 1820 Flourens began to work on the central nervous system, using pigeons and later dogs, whose sacrifice yielded fundamental information. He found that vision depends on the integrity of the celebral cortex, and that removal of part of it produces blindness on the opposite side. Removal of the cerebellum causes loss of coordination of movement; he also found that loss of the semi-circular canals of the ear causes loss of balance while respiration is controlled by a centre in the medulla oblongata. He did not attempt to remove or to stimulate small centres of the cerebellum and it was in 1870 who established cerebral localization. Flourens attacked the pseudoscience of phrenology and largely demolished it. In 1847 he showed that trichloromethane (CHCl3 ) is an effective anaesthetic for small animals, and later in the year the British obstetrician J Y Simpson (1811–70) first used it for human patients in childbirth. In his old age Flourens mounted a forceful attack on theory of evolution, describing his ideas as ‘childish and out of date’.

Flowers and Plants, Symbolism of [next] [back] Florio, John (c. 1553–1625) - BIOGRAPHY, MAJOR WORKS AND THEMES, CRITICAL RECEPTION

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