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On the Names of Babinski

     Andrew P Gasecki and Vladimir Hachinski

Abstract:   The 100th anniversary of the discovery of the extensor plantar response will be celebrated in 1996. It was Joseph François Félix Babinski who became known worldwide for the sign that bears his name. In order to help Joseph in establishing his career, brother Henri gave up his aspirations and abandoned engineering. Clovis Vincent, 'father' of French neurosurgery and pupil of Joseph, stated: "Joseph Babinski lived for science, and Henri lived for his brother; without Henri Babinski, Joseph would not have accomplished that much". However, Henri's name became famous in all Paris for a cookbook Gastronomie Pratique written under the pseudonym of 'Ali-Bab.' Throughout Joseph's career his surname remained distorted despite his own efforts to spell and pronounce it correctly. Several people can claim the name Babinski, but in neurology and neurosurgery there is only one, Joseph.

Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1996; 23: 76-79


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