Georg Marinesco, the neurologist who invented medical cinema



Gheorghe Marinescu, founder of Romanian neurology had been student of Profeseur Charcot in the glorious days of La Salpetriere. He became first to understand the future of medical cinematography to illustrate neurolology semeiology with animated illustration ..


Georges Marinesco was born in Bucharest and that's where he did his medical studies. In 1883 he came in the Dpt of Victor Babes, the most famous neurologist of Romania at that time and publised with his mentor many works in all fields of neurology : transverse myelitis, hysterical mutism and anatomy of the spinal cord


In 1888, Georges Marinesco received, with the support of Victor Babes, a scholarship to study in Paris under the direction of Jean Martin  Charcot in his department of diseases of the nervous system at Salpetriere.

There, George could meet some future great names in neurology, such as: Joseph Babinski and Pierre Marie.

In collaboration with Pierre Marie, Georges presented in 1890 at the Neurology  Congress of Berlin, his researches on acromegaly and diencephalic tumors.

At that time, he he published, with Paul Broc an "Atlas Histopathology of the central nervous system",   milestone in this field.


Leaving Paris, George continued his career in Neurology in Frankfurt in the neurology department of Carl Weigert and in Berlin, in the Laboratory of Physiology of Emil du Bois-Reymond

In 1897, Marinesco returned to Romania where a chair of Neurology has just been created especially for him in Bucharest. He became head of the University Clinic of Nervous diseases, at the Colentina hospital where he remained until the end.

Among the many publications of Georges Marinesco at that time, should be mentionned his outstanding work on parkinsonian syndromes secondaries to a basal ganglia tumor.

In 1931 Marinesco  published in coopertion with a Swedish ophthalmologist, Sjögren, the first report of what was later called Marinesco-Sjogren disease, associating cataracts, mental retardation, short stature, hypogonadism, and ataxia.

Georges Marinesco ended his career with many awards : in celebration of the centenary of the birth of Charcot in 1925, he was charged to deliver the eulogy of the great neurologist La Salpetriere. He had been elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1930.


Georges Marinesco was the first to use the cinema as a tool for medical research : this would be reminded by all medicalstudents ans specialists in medical cinema.

Following the pace of Etienne Marey who created chronophotography, Marinesco had the idea in 1898 to adapt the Lumière engine projector to record the symptomatology of neurological patients. In his mind, the films were mostly objective witnesses to assess patients  condition.

After publishing its first results in "Semaine medicate de Paris", Marinesco went on until 1901 to film his patients, demonstrated a set of records, such as: "Difficulties walking in a hemiplegic", "Problems with walking in progressive locomotor ataxia "and" paralyzing Myosclérose in muscular dystrophy "

However, the cinema was still in infancy and Georges Marinesco had been too early precursor in this field : V

ery few records still subsist most have been erased to recover the  celluloid films…


In a long tradition of academic exchanges, a long list of prestigious names stakes medical history relations between Romania and France

Over the centuries, many students from Romania register were enrolled in the Faculties franç over twenty five Romanian doctors had the honor of being admitted to the National Academy of Medicine.

In our time, the number of Romanian doctors coming to settle in France continues to grow. In parallel, using the latest provisions of the European Community, the French students get more and more in Romania.

Thus, justice is rendered according to  the words of Paul Valéry: "We learn from each other's differences"…

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Date de dernière mise à jour : 30/07/2013

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