Alexis Yakovlievich Kozhevnikov
Biography of Alexis Yakovlievich Kozhevnikov
Alexis Yakovlievich Kozhevnikov early proved himself a brilliant student in his home town of Ryazan. He attended the University of Moscow from 1853 and graduated in 1858. His doctoral dissertation, presented in 1865, was on progressive locomotor ataxia. In 1866 the state sent him abroad for further study, principally to Germany, but also England, Switzerland and France. In Charcot's laboratory in Paris he showed that in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis the nerve degeneration in the form of corps granuleux could be followed up to the motor cortex, a most important contribution to the pathology of this morbid condition.
When he came home in 1869 he became Dozent in nervous and mental diseases at the Novo-Ekaterinskii Hospital, leading courses about neurologic and psychic disease. He thus became the first academic neuropathologist and psychiatrist in Russia, with the Moscow faculty. From 1870 to 1884 he headed the Clinic for neurologic disease, becoming professor extraordinarius in 1873. from 1880 he was professor ordinarius and held the chair of special pathology and therapy of University,
In 1886 Kozhevnikov was the founder of the university clinic for psychiatry. In 1890 he was founder and president of the Moscow society of neuropathologists and psychiatrists and founded a new clinic for neurologic disease (director until 1900.). His brilliant young pupil and assistant, Sergei Sergeievich Korsakoff (1853-1900), played an important role in this development. Kozhevnikov is thus one of the founders of the Moscow school of psychiatry. Besides Korsakoff, his famous pupils include Vladimir Karlovich Rot (1848-1916), Grigorii Ivanovich Rossolimo (1860-1928), Liverij Osipovich Darkshevich (1858-1925), V. A. Muratov and Lazar Salomonovich Minor (1855-1942).
He introduced more humane approaches to the treatment of the insane and promoted this throughout Russia. He also established a neurological museum at the neurological clinic, financed largely by himself.
Kozhevnikov made several contributions to the pathological anatomy of nervous diseases. Besides epilepsia continua he described Diplegia spastica familiaris progressiva (Med. obzor. 1895, 43: 329. He investigated the build of nervous cells in sclerotic amyotrophy, ophthalmoplegia and asthenic bulbar paralysis.
Kozhevnikov was a man of kindly spirit, great industry and a high degree of intelligence. His ability as a speaker, his critical judgement and his quiet dignity won for him a position of leadership in all his endeavours. He died of cancer.
We thank Zoran Bojanic, M.D., Serbia, for information used in this article.