Pioneering Neuroscientist Wilder Penfield: Why Don’t We Have Intellectual Seizures?

Wilder Penfield was a pivotal figure in modern neurosurgery. He was an American-born neurosurgeon at the Montreal Neurological Institute who pioneered surgery for epilepsy. He was an accomplished scientist as well as a clinical surgeon, and made seminal contributions to our knowledge of cortical physiology, brain mapping, and intraoperative study of seizures and brain function under local anesthesia with patients awake who could report experiences during brain stimulation. His surgical specialty was the mapping of seizure foci in the brain of awake (locally anesthetized) patients, using the patient’s experience and response to precise brain stimulation to locate and safely excise discrete regions of the cortex that were causing seizures. Penfield revolutionized neurosurgery (every day in the operating room I use instruments he designed) and he revolutionized our understanding of brain…


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