Theodore Brown Rasmussen (1910–2002): epilepsy surgeon, scientist, and teacher

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✓ Theodore Brown Rasmussen succeeded Wilder Penfield as director of the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and held this post from 1960 to 1972. During his career, Rasmussen probably performed more operations for epilepsy than any other surgeon of his time; he became the foremost authority in this field. His meticulous follow-up analyses of the MNI seizure series provided substantial evidence for the success of surgery in the treatment of focal epilepsy. In addition, he made significant contributions to surgery of the pituitary gland for control of cancer, treatment of cerebral and spinal tumors, application of the intracarotid Amytal test for lateralization of speech and memory function, and characterization and treatment of epilepsy accompanied by chronic encephalitis, now referred to as Rasmussen syndrome. His painstaking attention to surgical details as well as his insistence on close monitoring of patient care and critical scrutiny of clinical results marked him as an outstanding teacher and role model for young neurosurgeons and neuroscientists.

Article Information

Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: William Feindel, M.D.C.M., D.Phil., F.R.C.S.(C), Montreal Neurological Institute, 3801 University Street, Montreal, H3A 2B4 Canada. email: wfeindel@bic.mni.mcgill.ca.
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References
  • 1.

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  • 2.

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  • 3.

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  • 5.

    Branch CMilner BRasmussen T: Intracarotid sodium amytal for the lateralization of cerebral speech dominance. Observations in 123 patients. J Neurosurg 21:3994051964Branch C Milner B Rasmussen T: Intracarotid sodium amytal for the lateralization of cerebral speech dominance. Observations in 123 patients. J Neurosurg 21:399–405 1964

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    Feindel WRasmussen T: Temporal lobectomy with amygdalectomy and minimal hippocampal resection: review of 100 cases. Can J Neurol Sci 18 (Suppl 4):6036051991Feindel W Rasmussen T: Temporal lobectomy with amygdalectomy and minimal hippocampal resection: review of 100 cases. Can J Neurol Sci 18 (Suppl 4):603–605 1991

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  • 8.

    Garretson PGloor PRasmussen T: Intracarotid amobarbital and metrazol test for the study of epileptiform discharge in man: a note on its technique. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 21:6076101966Garretson P Gloor P Rasmussen T: Intracarotid amobarbital and metrazol test for the study of epileptiform discharge in man: a note on its technique. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 21:607–610 1966

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    Harvey JRasmussen T: Electroencephalographic changes associated with experimental temporary focal cerebral anemia. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 3:3413511951Harvey J Rasmussen T: Electroencephalographic changes associated with experimental temporary focal cerebral anemia. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 3:341–351 1951

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    Harvey JRasmussen T: Occlusion of the middle cerebral artery. An experimental study. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 66:20291951Harvey J Rasmussen T: Occlusion of the middle cerebral artery. An experimental study. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 66:20–29 1951

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  • 12.

    Hemingway ARasmussen TRasmussen ATet al: Effect of cutting the pituitary stalk on physiological temperature regulation. Endocrinology 27:2122181940Hemingway A Rasmussen T Rasmussen AT et al: Effect of cutting the pituitary stalk on physiological temperature regulation. Endocrinology 27:212–218 1940

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  • 13.

    Jasper HHRasmussen T: Studies of clinical and electrical responses to deep temporal stimulation in man with some considerations of functional anatomy. Assoc Res Nerv Ment Dis 36:3163341958Jasper HH Rasmussen T: Studies of clinical and electrical responses to deep temporal stimulation in man with some considerations of functional anatomy. Assoc Res Nerv Ment Dis 36:316–334 1958

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  • 15.

    Milner BBranch CRasmussen T: Evidence for bilateral speech representation in some non-right handers. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 91:3063081966Milner B Branch C Rasmussen T: Evidence for bilateral speech representation in some non-right handers. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 91:306–308 1966

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  • 16.

    Milner BBranch CRasmussen T: Study of short-term memory after intracarotid injection of sodium amytal. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 87:2242261962Milner B Branch C Rasmussen T: Study of short-term memory after intracarotid injection of sodium amytal. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 87:224–226 1962

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  • 17.

    Oguni HAndermann FRasmussen TB: The natural history of the syndrome of chronic encephalitis and epilepsy: a study of the MNI series of forty-eight cases in Andermann F (ed): Chronic Encephalitis and Epilepsy: Rasmussen's Syndrome. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann1991 pp 735Oguni H Andermann F Rasmussen TB: The natural history of the syndrome of chronic encephalitis and epilepsy: a study of the MNI series of forty-eight cases in Andermann F (ed): Chronic Encephalitis and Epilepsy: Rasmussen's Syndrome. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann 1991 pp 7–35

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  • 18.

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  • 19.

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  • 20.

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  • 21.

    Rasmussen ATRasmussen T: The hypophysis cerebri of Bushman, the gorilla of Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. Anat Rec 113:3253471952Rasmussen AT Rasmussen T: The hypophysis cerebri of Bushman the gorilla of Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago. Anat Rec 113:325–347 1952

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  • 22.

    Rasmussen T: Cortical resection in children with focal epilepsy in Parsonage MGrant RHECraig AGet al (eds): Advances in Epileptology: XIV Epilepsy International Symposium. New York: Raven Press1983 pp 249254Rasmussen T: Cortical resection in children with focal epilepsy in Parsonage M Grant RHE Craig AG et al (eds): Advances in Epileptology: XIV Epilepsy International Symposium. New York: Raven Press 1983 pp 249–254

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  • 23.

    Rasmussen T: Cortical resection in the treatment of focal epilepsy. Adv Neurol 8:1391541975Rasmussen T: Cortical resection in the treatment of focal epilepsy. Adv Neurol 8:139–154 1975

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  • 24.

    Rasmussen T: Hemispherectomy for seizures revisited. Can J Neurol Sci 10:71781983Rasmussen T: Hemispherectomy for seizures revisited. Can J Neurol Sci 10:71–78 1983

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    Rasmussen T: The place of surgery in the treatment of epilepsy in Morley TP (ed): Current Controversies in Neurosurgery. Philadelphia: WB Saunders1976 pp 465477Rasmussen T: The place of surgery in the treatment of epilepsy in Morley TP (ed): Current Controversies in Neurosurgery. Philadelphia: WB Saunders 1976 pp 465–477

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    Rasmussen T: Postoperative superficial hemosiderosis of the brain, its diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 98:1331371973Rasmussen T: Postoperative superficial hemosiderosis of the brain its diagnosis treatment and prevention. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 98:133–137 1973

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  • 28.

    Rasmussen T: Posttraumatic epilepsy in Feiring EH (ed): Injuries of the Brain and Spinal Cord. New York: Springer1974 pp 544569Rasmussen T: Posttraumatic epilepsy in Feiring EH (ed): Injuries of the Brain and Spinal Cord. New York: Springer 1974 pp 544–569

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  • 30.

    Rasmussen T: Surgery of epilepsy associated with brain tumors. Adv Neurol 8:2272391975Rasmussen T: Surgery of epilepsy associated with brain tumors. Adv Neurol 8:227–239 1975

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  • 31.

    Rasmussen T: Surgical therapy of posttraumatic epilepsy in Walker AECaveness WFCritchley M (eds): The Late Effects of Head Injury. Springfield, IL: Thomas1969 pp 277305Rasmussen T: Surgical therapy of posttraumatic epilepsy in Walker AE Caveness WF Critchley M (eds): The Late Effects of Head Injury. Springfield IL: Thomas 1969 pp 277–305

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  • 32.

    Rasmussen T: Surgical treatment of complex partial seizures: results, lessons and problems. Epilepsia 24 (Suppl 1):S65S761983Rasmussen T: Surgical treatment of complex partial seizures: results lessons and problems. Epilepsia 24 (Suppl 1):S65–S76 1983

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  • 33.

    Rasmussen T: Tailoring of cortical excisions for frontal lobe epilepsy. Can J Neurol Sci 18 (Suppl 4):6066101991Rasmussen T: Tailoring of cortical excisions for frontal lobe epilepsy. Can J Neurol Sci 18 (Suppl 4):606–610 1991

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  • 34.

    Rasmussen TFeindel W: Temporal lobectomy: review of 100 cases with major hippocampectomy. Can J Neurol Sci 18 (Suppl 4):6016021991Rasmussen T Feindel W: Temporal lobectomy: review of 100 cases with major hippocampectomy. Can J Neurol Sci 18 (Suppl 4):601–602 1991

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  • 35.

    Rasmussen TGulati DR: Cortisone in the treatment of postoperative cerebral edema. J Neurosurg 19:5355441962Rasmussen T Gulati DR: Cortisone in the treatment of postoperative cerebral edema. J Neurosurg 19:535–544 1962

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  • 36.

    Rasmussen THarper PVKennedy T: The use of a beta ray point source for destruction of the hypophysis. Surg Forum Am Coll Surg 4:6816861953Rasmussen T Harper PV Kennedy T: The use of a beta ray point source for destruction of the hypophysis. Surg Forum Am Coll Surg 4:681–686 1953

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  • 37.

    Rasmussen TMilner B: The role of early left-brain injury in determining lateralization of the cerebral speech functions. Ann NY Acad Sci 299:3553691977Rasmussen T Milner B: The role of early left-brain injury in determining lateralization of the cerebral speech functions. Ann NY Acad Sci 299:355–369 1977

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  • 38.

    Rasmussen TOlszewski JLloyd-Smith D: Focal seizures due to chronic localized encephalitis. Neurology 8:4354451958Rasmussen T Olszewski J Lloyd-Smith D: Focal seizures due to chronic localized encephalitis. Neurology 8:435–445 1958

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  • 39.

    Rasmussen TPenfield W: Further studies of the sensory and motor cerebral cortex of man. Fed Proc 6:4524601947Rasmussen T Penfield W: Further studies of the sensory and motor cerebral cortex of man. Fed Proc 6:452–460 1947

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  • 40.

    Rasmussen TB: How large are frontal lobe epileptogenic zones? Surgical aspects. Adv Neurol 57:3253301992Rasmussen TB: How large are frontal lobe epileptogenic zones? Surgical aspects. Adv Neurol 57:325–330 1992

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  • 41.

    Rasmussen TBFreedman H: Treatment of causalgia. An analysis of 100 cases. J Neurosurg 3:1651731946Rasmussen TB Freedman H: Treatment of causalgia. An analysis of 100 cases. J Neurosurg 3:165–173 1946

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  • 42.

    Rasmussen TBKernohan JWAdson AW: Pathologic classification, with surgical consideration, of intraspinal tumors. Ann Surg 111:5135301940Rasmussen TB Kernohan JW Adson AW: Pathologic classification with surgical consideration of intraspinal tumors. Ann Surg 111:513–530 1940

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  • 43.

    Rovit RLGloor PRasmussen T: Intracarotid amobarbital in epileptic patients. A new diagnostic tool in clinical electroencephalography. Arch Neurol 5:6066261961Rovit RL Gloor P Rasmussen T: Intracarotid amobarbital in epileptic patients. A new diagnostic tool in clinical electroencephalography. Arch Neurol 5:606–626 1961

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  • 44.

    Steiner PERasmussen TBFisher LE: Neuropathy, cardiopathy, hemosiderosis and testicular atrophy in a Gorilla gorilla. Arch Pathol 59:5251954Steiner PE Rasmussen TB Fisher LE: Neuropathy cardiopathy hemosiderosis and testicular atrophy in a Gorilla gorilla. Arch Pathol 59:5–25 1954

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  • 45.

    Villemure JGRasmussen T: Functional hemispherectomy: methodology. J Epilepsy 3 (Suppl):1771821990Villemure JG Rasmussen T: Functional hemispherectomy: methodology. J Epilepsy 3 (Suppl):177–182 1990

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  • 46.

    Wada JRasmussen T: Intracarotid injection of sodium amytal for the lateralization of cerebral speech dominance. Experimental and clinical observations. J Neurosurg 17:2662821960Wada J Rasmussen T: Intracarotid injection of sodium amytal for the lateralization of cerebral speech dominance. Experimental and clinical observations. J Neurosurg 17:266–282 1960

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  • 47.

    Weir B: Theodore Rasmussen, 1910–2002. Can J Neurol Sci 29:2892902002Weir B: Theodore Rasmussen 1910–2002. Can J Neurol Sci 29:289–290 2002

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  • 48.

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  • 49.

    Yuhl ETHarper PVRasmussen TBet al: Clinical results of radioyttrium hypophysectomy. Surg Forum 6:4894911955Yuhl ET Harper PV Rasmussen TB et al: Clinical results of radioyttrium hypophysectomy. Surg Forum 6:489–491 1955

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