History of Neurosurgery with Movement Disorders

Biography Section with Pictorial archive of Pioneer Neurosurgeons

Irving S. Cooper

(1922 - 1985)

Irving S. Cooper was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1922 into a middle class family, trying to overcome the Great Depression. Because of this, Cooper was forced to work his way through high school and eventually paid his college tuition at George Washington University. There, he received his BA in 1942 and his MD in 1945 and went on to complete a 1-year internship at the United States Naval Hospital. From 1948 - 1951, Cooper performed his neurosurgical training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and also received his doctorate in neurophysiology while he was there.

After completing his training, Dr. Cooper moved to New York City to do his clinical work at Belleview Hospital. He worked there until 1954, when he became an active organizer of a Department of Neurosurgery at St. Barnabas Hospital, also located in New York City. During his time at St. Barnabas, Dr. Cooper was well known for the thousands of operations he performed, as well as his active role in developing new techniques for the treatment of movement disorders. In 1977, he was appointed Director of the Westchester County Medical Center for Physiologic Neurosurgery at New York Medical College.

While at both St. Barnabas Hospital and Westchester County Medical Center, Dr. Cooper became well known for videotaping his patients and subsequently creating a controversial video library with all the recordings. He used the recordings to keep track of both the pre-operative condition and also the post-operative outcomes of the surgery. Though Dr. Cooper may have seen the practice as one that could ultimately improve the lives of his patients and the success of their surgeries, many others viewed it as arrogant and a way for him to show off his accomplishments.

In 1952, when Dr. Cooper began his career, the treatment of choice for movement disorders was the pedunculotomy; however, during one procedure, Dr. Cooper was forced to abort the pedunculotomy after having interrupted the patient's Anterior Choroidal Artery. When the patient awoke after the surgery, his tremor was gone and his rigidity had disappeared, leading Dr. Cooper to begin to purposely ligate the Anterior Choroidal Artery to reduce tremors. Though his way seemed to be effective, it was also inconsistent, which led him to develop the first cryosurgical probe to be used in the brain. After this crucial development, Dr. Cooper began to successfully and effectively treat patients with Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, Wilson disease, chorea, Tourette syndrome, and stroke. Using this as a building block, Dr. Cooper went on to continue to expand the field of functional neurosurgery. For example, in 1979, he implanted a deep brain stimulator in a patient who had chronic pain and spasticity and then continued to research the topic and publish his results on Deep Brain Stimulation until his death in 1985.

Though Dr. Cooper contributed greatly to our knowledge of Deep Brain Stimulation and its treatment of various movement disorders today, his best results came from his work with patients who had dystonia musculorum deformans and other severe forms of dystonias. He performed at a success rate of 77%, which was extremely impressive, as the disease was considered virtually untreatable before his involvement. Dr. Cooper was seen as a brilliant brain surgeon who devoted his life to helping those who had lived with what were thought to be "untreatable diseases". Though his results were phenomenal and his research groundbreaking, many still found his approach to be controversial. Whether he was taping patients or participating in broadcasted interviews, many found him to be self-promoting and arrogant. Regardless of public opinion, however, it cannot be argued that his contributions to our understanding of Deep Brain Stimulation and other movement disorder treatments today have been proven essential.

Sources:

  • Hornyak, Mark, Richard Rovit, Arlene Stolper Simon, and William Couldwell. "Irving S. Cooper and the early surgical management of movement disorders." Neurosurg Focus 2.6 (2001): n. pag. Web. 4 Jun 2010. <http://thejns.org/doi/pdf/10.3171/foc.2001.11.2.7.
  • Das, K, DL Benzil, RL Rovit, R Murali, and WT Couldwell. "Irving S. Cooper (1922-1985): a pioneer in functional neurosurgery." PubMed 5. (1998): n. pag. Web. 4 Jun 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9817430.

Selected Movement Disorder Related Publications:
Top 20 first and last authored citations (from ISI Web of Knowledge)

  1. Cooper IS, Riklan M, Amin I, Waltz JM, Cullinan T. CHRONIC CEREBELLAR STIMULATION IN CEREBRAL-PALSY. Neurology 1976;26(8):744-753.
  2. Cooper IS, Amin I, Riklan M, Waltz JM, Poon TP. CHRONIC CEREBELLAR STIMULATION IN EPILEPSY. Archives of Neurology 1976;33(8):559-570.
  3. Cooper IS, Crighel E, Amin I. CLINICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF STIMULATION OF PALEOCEREBELLUM IN HUMANS. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1973;21(1):40-43.
  4. Cooper IS. EFFECT OF CHRONIC STIMULATION OF ANTERIOR CEREBELLUM ON NEUROLOGICAL DISEASE. Lancet 1973;1(7796):206-206.
  5. Samra K, Riklan M, Levita E, Zimmerma.J, Waltz JM, Bergmann L, Cooper IS. LANGUAGE AND SPEECH CORRELATES OF ANATOMICALLY VERIFIED LESIONS IN THALAMIC SURGERY FOR PARKINSONISM. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 1969;12(3):510-&.
  6. Cooper IS. SURGICAL TREATMENT OF PARKINSONISM. Annual Review of Medicine 1965;16:309-&.
  7. Domino EF, Matsuoka S, Waltz J, Cooper IS. EFFECTS OF CRYOGENIC THALAMIC LESIONS ON SOMESTHETIC EVOKED RESPONSE IN MAN. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 1965;19(2):127-&. 8. Proctor F, Teuber HL, Riklan M, Cooper IS. JUDGMENT OF VISUAL + POSTURAL VERTICAL BY PARKINSONIAN PATIENTS. Neurology 1964;14(4):287-&.
  8. Cooper IS, Caracalos A, Bergmann LL. ANATOMIC VERIFICATION OF LESION WHICH ABOLISHES PARKINSONIAM TREMOR AND RIGIDITY. Neurology 1963;13(9):779-&.
  9. Kelman CD, Cooper IS. CRYOGENIC OPHTHALMIC SURGERY. American Journal of Ophthalmology 1963;56(5):731-&.
  10. Cooper IS. A CRYOGENIC METHOD FOR PHYSIOLOGIC INHIBITION AND PRODUCTION OF LESIONS IN BRAIN. Journal of Neurosurgery 1962;19(10):853-&.
  11. Cooper IS. CRYOGENIC SURGERY OF BASAL GANGLIA. Jama-Journal of the American Medical Association 1962;181(7):600-&.
  12. Cooper IS. HEREDOFAMILIAL TREMOR ABOLITION BY CHEMOTHALAMECTOMY. Archives of Neurology 1962;7(2):129-&.
  13. Cooper IS, Lee AS. CRYOSTATIC CONGELATION - A SYSTEM FOR PRODUCING A LIMITED, CONTROLLED REGION OF COOLING OR FREEZING OF BIOLOGIC TISSUES. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 1961;133(3):259-263. 15. Cooper IS. RESULTS OF 1,000 CONSECUTIVE BASAL GANGLIA OPERATIONS FOR PARKINSONISM. Annals of Internal Medicine 1960;52(3):483-499.
  14. Cooper IS. NEUROSURGICAL ALLEVIATION OF INTENTION TREMOR OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND CEREBELLAR DISEASE. New England Journal of Medicine 1960;263(9):441-444.
  15. Cooper IS, Bravo GJ. IMPLICATIONS OF A 5-YEAR STUDY OF 700 BASL GANGLIA OPERATIONS. Neurology 1958;8(9):701-707.
  16. Cooper IS, Bravo G. CHEMOPALLIDECTOMY AND CHEMOTHALAMECTOMY. Journal of Neurosurgery 1958;15(3):244-250.
  17. Cooper IS. CHEMOPALLIDECTOMY - INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUE IN GERIATRIC PARKINSONIANS. Science 1955;121(3137):217-218.
  18. Cooper IS. INTRACEREBRAL INJECTION OF PROCAINE INTO THE GLOBUS PALLIDUS IN HYPERKINETIC DISORDERS. Science 1954;119(3091):417-418.
  19. Cooper IS. LIGATION OF THE ANTERIOR CHOROIDAL ARTERY FOR INVOLUNTARY MOVEMENTS - PARKINSONISM. Psychiatric Quarterly 1953;27(2):317-319.
  20. Cooper IS, Crevier PH. NEUROGENIC HYPERNATREMIA AND HYPERCHLOREMIA. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1952;12(7):821-830.
  21. Cooper IS, Craig WM, Kernohan JW. TUMORS OF THE SPINAL CORD - PRIMARY EXTRAMEDULLARY GLIOMAS. Surgery Gynecology & Obstetrics 1951;92(2):183-190.
  22. Cooper IS, Kernohan JW. HETEROTOPIC GLIAL NESTS IN THE SUBARACHNOID SPACE - HISTOPATHOLOGIC CHARACTERISTICS, MODE OF ORIGIN AND RELATION TO MENINGEAL GLIOMAS. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 1951;10(1):16-29.

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