Author(s): Rosenow J, Das K, Rovit RL, Couldwell WT
Dr. Irving Cooper (1922-1985) was a pioneer in the field of functional neurosurgery. After years of treating patients with tremor by creating deep lesions with either anterior choroidal artery ligation or cryogenic thalamotomy, he began to utilize methods of electrical cerebral stimulation as treatment for a variety of disorders. Chronic cerebellar stimulation was employed for patients with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and dystonia. While Dr. Cooper believed his results to be significant, there still remain many challenges to his claims. Later in his career, he placed deep brain electrodes in the internal capsule and thalamus for epilepsy and dystonia. His encouraging results from this small series were often overlooked. This paper reviews the science behind Dr. Cooper's work, his case series, and the controversies surrounding his results.