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Dr. Raymond D. Adams: Last of the Giants

Posted Mar 30 2009 3:14pm
This month marks the publication of the ninth edition of the famed textbook Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology, originally authored by Dr. Raymond D. Adams and his colleague, Dr. Maurice Victor.Dr. Adams, former chief of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of neuropathology at Harvard Medical School, passed away on October 18, 2008 at Brigham and Women's Hospital of complications from congestive heart failure. He was 97 years old. Dr. Adams' contribution to both neurology and neuropathology was immeasurable.

(Pictured on the left at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in Waltham, MA with Ms. Shriver, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Dr. Malcom J. Farrell. Adams was the Shriver Center's first director. Source: Boston Globe 1970 file photo.)

Here's what some physicians have said about Dr. Adams' impact:

"A brain cutting was elevated to an art form in his presence and his ability to force us to think was an elegant legacy which he has left to all who studied with him."
Benjamin Rix Brooks, MD
Charlotte, North Carolina


Dr, Adams was "a pre-eminent neurologist and prominent neuropathologist as well, one of the greatest and last of the giants of both neurology and neuropathology back when they were hardly separate specialties."
Douglas C. Miller, MD, PhD
Columbia, Missouri

"Dr. Adams contributed greatly to the establishment of the E.K. Shriver Center in Waltham MA and he was instrumental in the education and training of many of us who were blessed to benefit from his knowledge of neurology and the understanding of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities."
Jim Gleason, MD
Waltham, Massachusetts


"Ray Adams was one of the last of the pioneers and giants of both neurology and neuropathology, harkening back to the golden years of neuropathology when virtually all neuropathologists were neurologists. He integrated both in a way that is rarely seen in the 21st century. He and his kind will be tremendously missed."
John E. Donahue, MD
Providence, Rhode Island

"Dr. Adams' teaching had an enormous impact on the field of neurology, and all of us who worked with him came away from that experience thinking differently about our work."
Lee Vorderer, MD
Shriver Center
Waltham, Massachusetts

"What he did that really broke the field wide open is that he made maximum use of neuropathology to study diseases. He established neuropathology as the basic science of clinical neurology."
Allan Ropper, MD
Boston, Massachusetts


(Pictured with colleagues in 2002 at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in Waltham, Massachusetts during theRaymond D. Adams Conference on Multiple Sclerosis.)

For more details on Dr. Adams' life, see this Boston Globe obituary.
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