Gheorghe Marinescu

Gheorghe Marinescu (February 28, 1863, Bucharest – May 15, 1938, Bucharest) was a Romanian neurologist, founder of the Romanian School of Neurology.

Fatherless, Marinescu was guided, at his mother’s insistence and due to precarious means, towards becoming a priest, entering the seminary. Acquiring ethical and moral conduit, he then attends the Polytechnic School and then the classes of the Faculty of Medicine at the Bucharest University, with Victor Babeş as one of his professors. He received most of his medical education as preparator at the laboratory of histology at the Brâncoveanu Hospital and as assistant at the Bacteriological Institute under Victor Babeş, and with Babeş already early published several works on myelitis transversa, hysterical muteness, dilatation of the pupil in pneumonia etc.

Marinescu went with a grant to Paris to undertake postgraduate training in neurology and studied here for eight years while working for two great hospitals: the Salpêtrière Hospital, run by the famous Jean-Martin Charcot, and the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital. He later worked with Carl Weigert in Frankfurt a.M. and then with Emil du Bois-Reymond in Berlin. On the assignment of Pierre Marie he lectured on the pathological anatomy of acromegaly at the Berlin International Congress in 1890. Returning to the country, he will make the best use of what he had previously learned, in the Pantelimon (where a new professorial department had been created for him) and Colentina hospitals. He received his doctorate in 1895 at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris. Shortly thereafter, in 1897, a chair of Clinical Neurology was created in the University of Bucharest, at the Colentina Hospital. He remained in this post for the next 41 years and is regarded as the founder of the Romanian School of Neurology.

Between July 1898 and 1901 Marinescu made the first science films in the world, in his clinic in Bucharest: The walking troubles of organic hemiplegy (1898), The walking troubles of organic paraplegies (1899), A case of hysteric hemiplegy healed through hypnosis (1899), The walking troubles of progressive locomotion ataxy (1900) and Illnesses of the muscles (1901). In 1924, Auguste Lumière recognized the priority of professor Marinescu concerning the first science films.

Gheorghe Marinescu has been one of the first doctors in the world to apply histologic, histopathologic and anatomoclinics in the scientific research in the field of neurology. Important original contributions are made in the field of fiziology, histopathology and the practical learning of the nervous system (the theory of reflex trophicity, the palmomentony reflex, kinetoplasma, chromatolysis, neuronophagy). He owned over 1000 highly precious publications making a significant contribution to the world medicine in the domain of modern neurology. He published the book “The Nervous Cell” (2 volumes, over 1000 pages) in 1909, in Paris. It was the first book of that kind in the world, and it was not surpassed yet. Gheorghe Marinescu was an eminent teacher. In his lectures he emphasised ideas and gave perspective for further investigations. He was elected as a member of Romanian Academy in 1906 and was also member of 7 foreign academies.

Several words from his will: “No flower. No discourse. Those who have loved me should use the money for poor children and the good words to encourage the suffering… leaving for the world nobody ever came back from, I would not want to affect anybody but the truth must yet be told: there is too much injustice in the blessed Romanian Country”.