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David Charles Taylor

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 16 April 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n976
  1. Ian M Goodyer

David Charles Taylor was a world renowned psychiatrist who specialised in the connections between severe brain malfunctions and mental illnesses. Originally making his observations in adult patients, his research became increasingly focused on the neurologically vulnerable child. Supported by the eminent neuropathologist John Corsellis, he was the first to describe focal cortical dysplasia (Taylor type cortical dysplasia), a now known important cause of surgically treatable epilepsy. This was a notable discovery, and has had a longlasting impact on the field. Taylor was the first clinician scientist to investigate the behavioural effects of patients who had undergone epilepsy surgery and among the first to suggest a sex difference in how the brain develops. The latter is a topic of considerable interest in today’s field of cognitive neuroscience.

David Charles Taylor was the youngest of five children born to parents who managed newsagent and tobacconist shops in central London. David and his family lived over one of the shops which was situated between Buckingham Palace Gardens and Victoria Station. David was aged 6 when the second world war broke out and, along with his 10 year old brother, was evacuated to mid-Wales and became a Welsh speaking child. His parents and other siblings also evacuated to Wales in 1941, where they farmed. Although the family returned to London in 1944, David was sent back to Wales until the end of the war. In 1946, aged 13 years, he went to boarding school, Allhallows, …

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