A modern history of neurosurgery and neurology in India: lessons for the world

J Neurosurg. 2022 Sep 23;1-6. doi: 10.3171/2022.7.JNS22456. Online ahead of print.


The compendia of medical knowledge of the great ancient Indian physicians Suśruta, Caraka, Jīvaka, and Vāgbhaṭa all attest to the practice of neurosurgery and neurology starting in the 1st millennium bce. Although a period of scientific stagnation ensued between the 12th and 20th centuries ce, Indian medical neurosciences once again flourished after India's independence from British rule in 1947. The pioneers of modern Indian neurosurgery, neurology, and their ancillary fields made numerous scientific and clinical discoveries, advancements, and innovations that proved influential on a global scale. Most importantly, the efforts of Indian neurosurgeons and neurologists were unified at the national level through the Neurological Society of India, which was established in 1951 and enabled an unprecedented degree of collaboration within the aforementioned medical specialties. The growth and success of the Indian model bears several lessons that can be applied to other nations in order to garner better collaboration among neurosurgeons, neurologists, and physicians in related fields. Here, the authors elaborate on the origins, growth, and development of neurosurgery and neurology in India and discuss their current state in order to glean valuable lessons on interdisciplinary collaboration, which forms the basis of the authors' proposal for the continued growth of societies dedicated to medical neurosciences across the world.

Keywords: AANS; India; Neurological Society of India; Suśrutasaṃhitā; history of neurology; history of neurosurgery; medical neurosciences; organized neurosurgery.