2003 INDUCTEE William Feindel, MDCM PhD Brain & Mind

Born:

July 12, 1918

(Bridgewater, Nova Scotia)

Died:

January 12, 2014

Education:

MDCM, McGill University (1945)
PhD, Oxford University (1949)

Awards & Honours:

2005: Lifetime Achievement Award, Montreal Neurological Institute

2004: Fellow of L’Academie des Grand Montrealais

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Picture of William Feindel

Introduced revolutionary brain scanning tools

Portrait of William Feindel

A pioneering neurosurgeon and technological visionary

Dr. William Feindel had a brilliant career in neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute, University Hospital in Saskatoon and at McGill University. His research focused on the application of the successive new scanning methods that were becoming available for imaging the human brain: Computer Aided Tomography (CAT); Positron Emission Tomography (PET); Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Through his work with Dr. Wilder Penfield in the 1950s, Dr. Feindel discovered the role of the amygdala in patients with temporal lobe seizures. This discovery led to the development of a treatment known as the “Montreal Procedure.”

Key Facts

Participated in the development of the first automatic isotope brain scanner

Published over 500 clinical and research papers of neurology, neurosurgery, medical history and biography

Served as President of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons and as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO)

Elected Honorary Osler Librarian by the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill

Was an avid pianist and violinist who performed along his colleagues at the MNI’s annual variety show

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Until the end of his life, William Feindel displayed an infectious enthusiasm for the study of neurology. This spirit inspired his colleagues and students during his life and will continue to do so in memory. Beyond those who knew Dr. Feindel personally, his influence extends to neurological researchers, clinicians and patients around the world who continue to embrace his medical innovations in brain imagining and surgical treatment of epilepsy. Today, the Montreal Neurological Institute remains one of the world’s leading brain imaging facilities and the Montreal Procedure is used in the treatment of thousands of epilepsy patients across the world.

Picture of William Feindel

2003

  • William Feindel inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Feindel became the first Director of the Brain Imaging Centre

    He served in this role for four years during which time he raised the profile of Canadian brain imagining research.

  • The Montreal Neurological Institute installed Canada’s first CT scanner

    Brain & Mind

    Feindel also secured funding and space for Canada’s first CAT and MRI units.

  • Feindel became the Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute

    He remained in this post until 1984. Under his leadership, the MNI doubled in size with the construction of the Penfield Pavilion in 1978 and the Webster Pavilion in 1984.

  • William Feindel wrote extensively on topics of medical history

    Health & Humanities

    In particular, he studied the work of Thomas Willis, the seventeenth-century British neurological pioneer who coined the term ‘neurology.' In 1964, Feindel published a facsimile in English of Willis’ 1664 treatise “Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves.”

  • After four years away, Feindel again returned to Montreal

    In 1959, he was appointed the first William Cone Professor of Neurosurgery. Three years later, he became neurosurgeon-in-chief at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

  • Feindel became the first Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Saskatoon

    Brain & Mind

    Upon his return from England, Feindel joined McGill at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Soon, however, Feindel was called to Saskatoon to help the University of Saskatchewan build its own neurological unit.

  • Following his war work, Feindel returned to McGill University

    He completed medical school in 1945 and then returned to Oxford, where he once held a Rhodes scholarship, to complete a PhD in brain anatomy. He also pursued further training in neurosurgery and neurology at both Oxford and the National Hospital for Neurological Diseases in London.

  • After receiving his master’s degree in physiology at McGill University, William Feindel made a contribution to Canada’s war effort

    Brain & Mind

    He worked as a researcher for the Naval Committee of the National Research Council of Canada, along with Dr. Wilder Penfield, where they developed advanced treatment for war injuries on the brain and nerves.

1942

He makes you want to dream.