Exercitationum Anatomicarum Fasciculus Primus De Structura Nervorum, Tribus Tabulis Aeneis Illustratus

Halae Saxonum Curtiana Venalis 1796 Folio (53.4 x 41.6 cm). Modern half black morocco binding with original marble boards, some loss of marble paper at front lower corner, minor loss of leather on upper rear corner, repaire to board of lower rear corner. Collation: [vi], 32 pp. + 3 copper engraved plates. There is hand coloring of some nerve fibers in plate 3. The plates were drawn from nature by G. Eherhard and engraved by F. Berger dated 1795 (plates 1 &2), 1796 (plate 3). There is some damp staining on the lower right corner of first two leaves and the three plates. Plate 3 has been trimmed along the top slightly into the plate mark. There is fore edge spotting on p.20. Very Good Modern black morocco spine and contemporary marble boards (Item ID: 0000455)


Reil was professor of Medicine at Halle and later Berlin. This is one of Reil's earliest neuroanatomical studies; the book contains his first description of the "island of Reil" in the cerebral cortex. "Reil studied the internal structure of the alcohol-fixed brained and named not only the insula, but most of the lobes of the cerebellum. By soaking the brain in specific salt solutions, he was able to separate fiber bundles to accurately depict the fiber tracts from the midbrain to the spinal cord. He also delineated the structure of the lenticular nuclei and lemniscal system. Reil, who published a monograph on the nerves (1796 - this copy), believed that every nerve was independent and had its own enery. He furthermore held that the brain was a separate organ with definite functions, and not merely the site of origin of the nerves". (Garrison' Hist. Neur. p.144)He is also noted for his investigations into the causes and cures of insanity and was one of the first to advocate humane treatment for the mentally afflicted. He founded the first journal devoted to psychiatry, Magazin für psychische Heilkunde. Reil also made important strides in ophthalmology and neuroanatomy, his works on the structure of the crystalline lens and his description of the "island of Reil" in the brain being especially significant. One of Reil's earliest neuroanatomical studies, the book contains his first description of the "island of Reil" in the cerebral cortex. He followed this work with an extensive series of papers on the eye and brain which he published in Archiv für die Physiologie which he cofounded in 1796 with Johann Heinrich Ferdinand Authenrieth (1772-1835). Reil developed special dissecting techniques which enabled him to separate the brain's fiber bundles and allowed him to trace and accurately depict fiber tracts from the midbrain to the spinal cord." (Heirs, 1162) Other regions of the cerebrum with Riel's name are the circular sulcus (reil's sulcus), the lateral longitudinal stria Reil's covered band, and the ansa peduncularis (Reil's ansa)."(Mettler, Hist. Med. P. 87) The Island of Reil is a region of convolutions situated at the base of the lateral fissure of the brain. This area has been shown to participate in key auditory functions. (Bamiou et al. Brain Res. 42(2):143-54, 2003). Reil had Goethe as periodic visitor and patient. (Cushing R88; Garrison-Morton 1387)

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