Adolf von Strümpell: a key yet neglected protagonist of neurology

J Neurol. 2012 Oct;259(10):2211-20. doi: 10.1007/s00415-012-6486-6. Epub 2012 Apr 19.


German internist and neurologist Adolf von Strümpell (1853-1925) was a leading figure in German neurosciences around 1900 and helped to establish neurology as a discipline in its own right. He made contributions that were crucial to the development of the subject and in many cases his were the first descriptions of complex diseases such as Bechterew disease (ankylosing spondylitis), primary lateral sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegia, and syphilis. His Textbook of Special Pathology and Therapy of Internal Diseases, published in English as Text-book of Medicine for Students and Practitioners, and in particular the subvolume on neurological diseases, were the guiding manuals for the training in neurology for decades. However, despite his pioneering achievements, his name has almost become unknown within medical terminology. This article, therefore, wishes to revive an awareness not only of the most important stages in Strümpell's life in Erlangen, Leipzig, Breslau (Wrocław), and Vienna, but also of his scientific achievements, focusing primarily on his neurological studies. To this end, the article reviews his most important publications on the subject and seeks to evaluate their and hence Strümpell's impact on the understanding of certain illnesses.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Germany
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Neurology / history*
  • Periodicals as Topic / history
  • Textbooks as Topic / history

Personal name as subject

  • Adolf von Strumpell