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Test tubes containing chemicals isolated from the human brain, London, England, 1865-1871

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Prepared by John Louis Thudichum (1829-1901), a German physician and chemist, these test tubes contain the first chemicals isolated from the human brain. These samples date from 1865 to 1871, when Thudichum was a lecturer and then director of a new laboratory of chemistry and pathology at St Thomas's Hospital in London, England. He is considered the pioneer of brain chemistry. The chemicals from left to right are: kerasine, phrenosine, lecithin-cadmium chloride and choline platinochloride.

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    Glossary: brain

    The enlarged and highly developed mass of nervous tissue that forms the upper end of the central nervous system. The average adult human brain weighs about 1400 g (approximately 2% of total body weight) and is continuous below with the spinal cord. It is responsible for the coordination and control of bodily activities and the interpretation of information from the senses (sight, hearing, smell, etc.)

    Glossary: test tube

    Hollow cylinders of thin glass with one end closed. Test tubes are used for chemical and biological experiments and analysis.