Man of Backbone

Today is the birthday of Vladimir Mikhaylovich Bekhterev, a Russian neurophysiologist and psychiatrist born in 1857 who helped elucidate the structure and diseases of the central nervous system. Bekhterev is best known for his discovery of the superior vestibular nucleus, a brain region also called the Bekhterev nucleus. He described several new disorders, including numbness of the spine (Bekhterev's disease), and several forms of spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae. He founded the first Russian journal on nervous diseases, Nevrologichesky Vestnik, in 1896.

Competing with countryman Ivan Pavlov, Bekhterev developed his own theory of conditioned reflexes, believing that they could explain complex behaviors. His theory helped propel the behaviorist movement of psychology in the United States in the early part of the century. Bekhterev died in 1927.

[Source: Britannica Online]

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