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Bell-Ma·gen·die law

Bell, Sir Charles (1774-1842),
British anatomist. Bell was the leading anatomist of his time as well as an eminent surgeon. In 1802 he published a series of engravings showing the anatomy of the brain and the nervous system. In 1811 he published one of the most seminal works in all of neurology, Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain. In 1830, he produced an expanded work, The Nervous System of the Human Body. In these books he distinguished between sensory nerves and motor nerves and announced his finding that the anterior roots of the spinal nerves are motor in function, while the posterior roots are sensory. First presented in 1811, this statement is alternately known as Bell's law or as the Bell-Magendie law, due to the fact that Franois Magendie later elaborated on it. One of the classic descriptions in Bell's Nervous System of the Human Body is his detailed account of the facial nerve, which he had originally described in 1821. He also described the facial paralysis resulting from a lesion of this nerve. The paralysis is now known as Bell's palsy.
Magendie, Franois (1783-1855), French physiologist. An experimental physiologist, Magendie is remembered for his pioneering investigations into the effects of drugs on various parts of the body. His researches led to the scientific application of such compounds as strychnine and morphine into medical practice. In 1821 he founded the first journal devoted to experimental physiology. The following year he confirmed and elaborated upon Bell's law. He was the first to actually prove the functional difference of the spinal nerves. Magendie was also one of the first to observe anaphylaxis, discovering in 1839 that rabbits tolerating a single injection of egg albumin often died following a second injection.

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