After the Greek physicians Herophilus and Galen, the major anatomical advances in the anatomy of the spinal cord were made possible by the microtome devised by Benedikt Stilling in January 1842. This enabled him to cut the frozen, thin sections and examine them, unstained, with the microscope. The technique founded future investigation of the cord’s anatomy. Brown-Séquard, Türck, Clarke, Lissauer, Goll, and Flechsig all contributed. An important result of these progressing anatomical experiments was the identification of the posterior columns. In 1826, the German physiologist Karl Friedrich Burdach (1776–1847) described, from macroscopic study, the fasciculus cuneatus, known as the tract of Burdach: the lateral portion of the posterior columns of the cord that terminate in the nucleus cuneatus of the medulla.

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