Obituaries

Charles David MarsdenHeadley BoardmanJohn Leslie BolderoWilliam Howard Kenneth CarpenterEdward Gordon CrookesJack Neville Phillips DaviesJohn Clifford DenmarkIvan JoffeIain KerrAlistair Donald MacKenzie

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7173.1661 (Published 12 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1661

Charles David Marsden


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Former dean Institute of Neurology, Queen Square (b1938; q St Thomas's 1963; DSc, FRCP; FRS), died from a hitherto unsuspected cardiac anomaly on 29 September 1998. Fascinated by neurology and neuroscience as a medical student, David became the pre-eminent clinical neuroscientist of his generation. Within 11 years of qualifying he was appointed to the newly established chair of clinical neurology at the Institute of Psychiatry, and in 1987 took up the chair of clinical neurology at Queen Square, becoming dean in 1995. A month before his death he had started a year's sabbatical at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. When first appointed at the Institute of Psychiatry he helped to establish research teams in neuropharmacology and neurophysiology and the UK Parkinson's Disease Society Brain Bank. He attracted dozens of research fellows from more than 20 countries, many of whom are now leaders in the field. David was the most frequently cited neuroscientist and among the 10 most commonly cited biomedical scientists in the world, with over 1100 publications,including over 800 original papers.

David identified and classified a multitude of clinical entities, made major contributions to the development and application of evoked responses, transcutaneous electrical and magnetic stimulation, helped to pioneer advances in medical and surgical treatments for Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, and to elucidate neurochemical and pathophysiological aspects of a whole range of basal ganglia diseases. He was an outstanding general neurologist and an inspirational teacher, who attracted many of us into a career in neurology by example and encouragement.

His most outstanding contributions to neurology were on the international stage. He helped to establish the subspecialty of movement disorders. He was president and coeditor of the Movement Disorder Society and its journal. He was editor of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatryfor …

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