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Theodore Brown Rasmussen

Born  1910
Died  2002

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American neurologist, born April 28, 1910, Provo, Utah; died January 23, 2002, Calgary, Canada. We thank Dr. Guenter Kraemer, Switzerland, for correcting an error in the original entry.

Biography of Theodore Brown Rasmussen

Theodore Brown Rasmussen was the son of Gertrude Brown and Dr. Andrew Theodore Rasmussen, who became professor of neuroanatomy at the University of Minnesota. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Minnesota in 1934 and interned at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, 1934-1935. From 1936 to 1939 he was a Fellow in Neurology at the Mayo Foundation. He completed his neurosurgical training under Wilder Penfield, William Cone and Arthur Elvidge at Montreal Neurological Institute 1939-1942. He obtained his Master of science in neurology in 1939.

Shortly before his senior residency was completed, he was called up for the United States Army. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as Chief of the neurosurgical sections of the14th Evacuation Hospital on the Ledo Road in the China-India-Burma Theatre. He was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

After his discharge from military service, he returned to Montreal Neurological Institute, where he was Assistant Neurosurgeon and a Lecturer in Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. In 1947 he became Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Chicago. That year he married Catherine Archibald (died 1998) of Truro, Nova Scotia. They had four children.

In 1954, Rasmussen returned to the Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill University, and he succeeded Wilder Graves Penfield (1891-1976) as director of the institute 1960. Besides his hospital appointments at the Neurological Institute, he also served as Neurosurgeon-in-Chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Rasmussen is best remembered for his meticulous work on the surgical treatment of epilepsy and his compilation of an unparalleled database of information concerning this neurological problem. During the 25 years from 1955 to 1980 he probably performed more operations for epilepsy than any other surgeon in the world.

During his college and medical school days, Rasmussen supported himself playing professional jazz clarinet and saxophone. He was also an outstanding long-distance runner, and an excellent skier and golfer.

Theodore Brown Rasmussen was a member of The Society of Neurological Surgeons from 1950, president 1970, and in 1989 received the Society's Distinguished Service Award.


  • Wilder Penfield and T. Rasmussen:
    The Cerebral Cortex of Man. A Clinical Study of Localization of Function.
    New York, The Macmillan Comp. 1950. 248 pages.
  • Frederick Andermann and Theodore Rasmussen.
    Chronic Encephalitis and Epilepsy: Rasmussen's Syndrome.
    Butterworth-Heinemann, 1991.
  • T. Rasmussen and Raul Marino:
    Functional neurosurgery. Taven Press, 1979.

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