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, 50 (5), 1451-5

Georges Guillain's Neurologic Exploration of America


Georges Guillain's Neurologic Exploration of America

C G Goetz. Neurology.


This is a study of the status of American neurology at the beginning of the 20th century as perceived by European neurologist Georges Guillain. Guillain trained in Paris, the international "Mecca" of neurology at that time. Whereas many Americans traveled and studied in Europe, very few European neurologists made the reverse journey to the United States. In 1902 Georges Guillain, age 26, traveled to the United States with the specific aim of evaluating neurologic services in America. Recent access to Guillain's personal travel journal and an article in French that he wrote after his return to Europe provide first-hand documentation of American neurology at the turn of the century from a European perspective. Using introductory references from his teacher, Pierre Marie, Guillain visited New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. He studied hospitals, outpatient departments, laboratories, and universities, comparing them with institutions in his native France and other European capitals. Guillain was particularly struck by the creative energy of American neurologists, the broad-ranging programs in research and patient care, and the strong financial support provided by local philanthropists, universities, and governments. Guillain clearly foresaw the rising international role of American neurology and the prominence it would gain by the end of his career in the 1950s.

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