REMAK, German family of neurologists. ROBERT REMAK (1815–1865) was born in the province of Posen and was one of the first Jews to become lecturer (Dozent) at the University of Berlin, by special permission of Emperor Frederick William IV. In 1859 he was appointed associate professor of medicine. He made important contributions in the fields of anatomy, histology, neurology, and electrotherapy. He discovered the nonmedullated nerve fibers (Remak fibers), and a sympathetic ganglion in the heart tissue (Remak's ganglion). In opposition to accepted theories, he stated that cell growth to form tissue is achieved by cell division. He also proved that the double middle embryological germ layer is a single structure. His contributions in the field of electrotherapy include substitution of galvanic for induced current and the introduction of galvanic therapy for certain nerve and muscle diseases.
His son, ERNST JULIUS REMAK (1849–1911), continued the work of his father in neurology and his contributions to medicine were mainly in electrodiagnosis and electrotherapeutics. He described the so-called Remak's reflex of the first three toes as an indication of disturbances in the spinal cord, and described a form of paralysis of the extensor muscles of fingers and wrists. His publications include Grundriss zur Elektrodiagnostik und Elektrotherapie (1909) and Neuritis und Polyneuritis (1899). Born in Berlin, he became an assistant in the clinic for nervous diseases at the Charité Hospital of that city. In 1902 he was appointed associate professor of neurology at Berlin University.
S.R. Kagan, Jewish Medicine (1952), 153–4, 379–80.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.