Project: Research project

Project Details


Much of the current understanding of the cerebral control of movement
stems from the work of Dr. Derek Denny-Brown, who died in 1981. At the
time of his death, Denny-Brown held the title of Putnam Professor of
Neurology Emeritus at Harvard Medical School. Denny-Brown's research
involved inducing CNS lesion in monkeys and analyzing the resulting
behavior using standard neurological tests. To document his work,
Denny-Brown filmed the animals undergoing these tests at various
post-operative days. This film collection consists of approximately 2400
100-foot rolls that depict the behavior of about 450 animals. Surgical
procedures, post-mortem analyses and post-operative behaviors of each of
these animals were documented in accompanying folders, which are also
available as are histological slides showing the lesions. The existence
of this vast collection of data is not well known. Furthermore, Denny-
Brown's publications include complete descriptions of only a small sample
of the 450 animals in this collection. To determine whether the films and accompanying materials, which were
bequeathed to the Co-PI by Denny-Brown, might be useful to the research
efforts of contemporary neuroscientists the PI and Co-PI published a
brief description of the collection in Neurology (40:1636, 1990), and
presented a poster on the collection at the 1991 Society for Neuroscience
meeting. The positive response to this article and poster by established
scientists suggests that the collection is indeed valuable to present day
researchers. The purposes of this pilot project are to ascertain more
precisely how valuable these films are by videotaping a sample of them
(the DC series; approximately 600 rolls of film of 97 animals), and to
begin to organize and catalog the histological material. The videotapes
and some of the associated material will then be loaned to interested
researchers for their evaluation. Videotapes will be loaned rather than
the actual films because no copies of the films exist and because of the
ease of videotape editing. Editing will be required because many of the
films include sequences of more than one animal. Subsequently, if these evaluations are strongly positive, a larger
proposal seeking funds to catalog and videotape the entire collection
will be sent to the NIH. In addition, funds will be requested to locate
a permanent repository for the entire collection, including the
Effective start/end date1/1/9312/31/94


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Professions(all)


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