Bastian, H. Charlton

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1837-04-26
Death 1915-11-17
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Henry Charlton Bastian (1937-1915), born in Truro, Cornwall, was a pioneer in the field of neurology. He studied at University College, London and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London. Bastian was known for his works on aphasia, the loss of the ability to express or understand speech due to brain damage. He also demonstrated Bastian's Law, which holds that the complete section of the upper spinal cord abolishes reflexes and muscular tone below the level of the lesion. He published various works on paralysis and coined the term kinesthesia to describe the sense of body motion. Bastian was also known for his work on abiogenesis, less accurately known as spontaneous generation. Bastian, in sharp contrast to Pasteur, Koch, Huxley and Darwin, controversially argued that there was no fixed boundary between living and nonliving organic matter and that the processes that generated life in an earlier stage could still be operating in the present. His experiments, however, could not be reproduced, and his views were generally discredited in the profession.

From the guide to the Henry Charlton Bastian papers, 1841-1932 and undated, bulk 1870-1920, (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University)

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