The institute

Created in January, 2007, the Neurocentre Magendie counts around 220 researchers, teachers-researchers, technicians, post-PhD students and students today, distributed in 11 research teams and 6 common technical platforms. Rich in about ten different nationalities, the members of the research center arrange 12000 m² at the heart of the campus of Carreire. So that each takes advantage of wealth of this community, the life of the Neurocentre is given rhythm by weekly scientific and friendly meetings, monthly meetings between the post-docs and annual big symposium.
Associated to the Neurocentre Magendie, 6 other research units make up the Federation Bordeaux Neurocampus which so adds up 700 people with 20 nationalities in 50 teams and multiplies tenfold the resources and the capacities.
The Neurocentre Magendie offers an international environment, scientifically stimulating and dynamic. We accompany all our future collaborators by facilitating their installation and we make sure that they have all the administrative and technical support to begin in the best conditions a new and fascinating scientific adventure.

François Magendie

François Magendie
Born in Bordeaux on October 6th 1783 (died October 7th 1855), François Magendie was a French physiologist, considered a pioneer of experimental physiology.
He is known for describing the foramen of Magendie. Magendie was a faculty at the College of France, holding the Chair of Medicine from 1830 to 1855.

The story of Neurosciences in Bordeaux

From pioneers to the "Bordeaux Neurocampus" Federation. A text by Michel Le Moal.

MASTER FOUNDERS: 19th century


In the academic imagination of Bordeaux, there is always a place for two children from the country who made their careers in Paris. First, there is François Magendie (born in Bordeaux, Gironde 1783-1855), professor at the Collège de France and mentor of Claude Bernard, talented experimentalist, neurophysiologist and inspiration for what will become experimental medicine with his successor. The first, he will distinguish the driving role of the anterior roots and the sensory role of the posterior roots; he will also discover the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid. It was in these capacities that the Inserm Institute of Neurosciences of Bordeaux decided to give it its name.
Second, we must mention Paul Broca (Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, Gironde, 1824-1880), a clinician and genius researcher, a great neurologist, an extraordinary surgeon and a revolutionary neuroanatomist. He would turn the ideas acquired in the histological diagnosis of tumours (see his Treatise on Tumours) upside down, and would be the creator of neuropsychology, in 1861, the founding date for brain sciences through the discovery of a cortical centre of language and the description of motor aphasia. His description of the "large limbal lobe" that bears his name will help lay the foundations for a neuropsychology of emotions. He founded the anthropological school of Paris.
The Bordeaux School of Medicine, which became the Faculty in 1878, welcomed several leading clinicians during the 19th century who paved the way for research on the brain. The director of the Elie Gintrac School of Medicine (1791-1877), professor of Internal Clinic, won the Royal Academy of Medicine prize in 1843 for his thesis "On the influence of heredity on the production of nervous overexcitation, on the diseases that result from it and on the means to cure them". Neuropsychiatrist before the letter, he studied with the knowledge of the time so little developed biologically, diseases as varied as neuralgia, chorea, epilepsy, mania, hysteria or hypochondria.

Later, Eugène Azam (1822-1899), correspondent of the Academy of Medicine in 1880, although professor of surgical clinic (1869), was interested for several decades in mental illness. A member of the Société Médico-Psychologique in 1857, he occupies a considerable place in the history of dynamic psychopathology, where he is a pioneer. He introduced hypnosis into France from the work of Braid (1841) who had fallen into oblivion to apply it to a psychiatric patient, Felida, observed for 32 years, known in all scientific circles and who was at one time as famous in France as some of Freud's patients are still today (Anna O., Dora, etc.).
E. Azam's studies on magnetism and hypnotism opened a path for Charcot and his disciples. His research on the phenomena of hypnotism and multiple personalities had a profound impact on Taine and Ribot. P. Janet claimed that E. Azam's observations provided the best arguments used in France by positivist psychologists and psychopathologists, to whom E. Azam devoted a book prefaced by Charcot, against schools of dogmatic philosophical psychology (Victor Cousin). In 1907, Janet wrote "Without Félida, we probably would not have created a chair of Psychology at the Collège de France"; this chair of "Experimental Psychology" was occupied by T. Ribot. In addition to various manifestations considered hysterical, Felida presented a "double consciousness or double personality".

Freud also paid tribute, in 1912, to Azam and his observations of "double consciousness" or, as he preferred to put it, of "this form of migration of consciousness that oscillates alternately between two different psychological complexes, conscious and unconscious". The second half of the 19th century was marked by two exceptional masters who would consecrate the Bordeaux school of neuropsychiatry: Pitres and Régis.

Albert Pitres (1848-1928), an intern from Bordeaux at Elie Gintrac's, then from Paris in 1872, went to work in the laboratories of physiologist J. Marey and histologist Ranvier at the Collège de France. He became a close collaborator and friend of J.M. Charcot at the Salpêtrière, where Babinski, Gilles de la Tourette, and Pierre Marie were then located; the young Freud would come later. Pitres and Charcot will continue the study of brain locations, initiated by Broca, notably by serial cuts of the brain, called Pitres cuts. His thesis, in 1877, will be devoted to lesions of the oval centre. After becoming a medical associate, he returned to Bordeaux in 1878. He became professor of general anatomy and histology, then in 1880 professor of internal clinic. The two volumes of his book "Clinical Lessons on Hysteria and Hypnotism" (Doin, 1891) were famous, as were his publications on aphasia amnesia. His work is essentially neurological: From the anatomo-clinical study of 108 patients, he and Charcot published numerous studies on motor localizations in the bark of the cerebral hemispheres, including "cortical motor centres in humans" (1895), "the functional localizations of the internal capsule" then "the osteopathies of the tabès" with Jean Abadie, "the epilepsy" (at Vigot in 1913), "the polyneuritis", "the phantom limbs of the amputees", and "the obsessions and the impulses" with Régis, at Doin, (1912).
His work on the defects of oral and written language, including pure motor agraphy (1884) and polyglot aphasia (1895), makes him a referent in aphasiology, and is still cited in Anglo-Saxon journals as examples of these partial, modular memories, it seems today because they have specific brain locations. He was an admired and loved schoolmaster. He was dean for twenty years and a remarkable organizer. Pitres was a correspondent of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and an associate of the Academy of Medicine since 1898 (fig. 1).

Emmanuel Régis (1855-1918) can be considered as the other founder of the Bordeaux neuropsychiatric school (fig. 2). He began his studies in Paris, where he was an intern, then head of Benjamin Ball's clinic in Sainte Anne in the first chair of psychiatry created in France. He devoted his thesis to "folie à deux", described by J. Falret in 1877. He came to Bordeaux in 1882 and at Pitres' request began a course in mental medicine which was made official in 1893. He was appointed Professor in 1905, then Chair of the Mental Illness Clinic in 1913. His "Manuel pratique de médecine mentale" (1885) became, over the years, the voluminous "Précis de Psychiatrie" and for thirty years the reference book for psychiatry in France. His psychiatric work is very important and diversified. His knowledge and interests were vast. Régis focused on demonstrating the syphilitic etiology of general paralysis. Adopting the Kraepelinian model of manic-depressive psychosis, he defends an exclusively bipolar conception. He is studying the mechanisms of what was then called early dementia. In 1894, he proposed the term onirism to describe acute hallucinatory states, including mental confusion. He will participate in the first implementation of special classes for delayed or abnormal children. He was both open and reserved with regard to Freudian doctrine.

The first conferences and articles on psychoanalysis in France were given by Régis and Hesnard (1913). At the beginning of the 20th century, he was considered the greatest French specialist in "morbid psychology" and "criminological psychology". He opened the first psychiatric ward at Hôpital Saint-André in 1902, with two pavilions. He knew how to integrate psychiatry into medicine by showing that changes in reason could follow accidents, intoxications, infections and by insisting on the fact that psychiatry was not just an asylar pathology. These lessons were well learned by one of his successors, Paul Delmas-Marsalet. His notoriety was immense. Egas Moniz, future Nobel Prize winner in Medicine for cerebral arteriography and prefrontal lobotomy, was his regular visitor and friend. His popular psychiatric lessons attracted doctors, magistrates, lawyers, philosophers and educated personalities. Thus Saint-John Perse, a law student, and Victor Segalen, who was to become a Naval Doctor, attended his courses. The latter, an external in his department, devoted his thesis to the psychiatric manifestations described in the literature. E. Régis was a correspondent of the National Academy of Medicine.



Jean Abadie (1873-1946) was the Associate Professor of Pitres and holder of the Clinical Chair of Mental Illnesses from 1919. According to Jean Lhermitte, who praised him at the Academy of Medicine, he was one of the most brilliant and illustrious representatives of French neurology, whose career was entirely devoted to clinical research. He was anxious to clarify the topographical diagnosis of a lesion as well as to define some mental anomaly or aberration of the mind. In the tradition of his precursors, he will never dissociate neuropsychiatry from internal medicine and medical thought. He continued the study of brain locations and in particular the systematization of the internal capsule, he worked on tabetic arthropathies, multiple sclerosis, polio, meningeal bleeding, endemic encephalitis. He studied skin reflectivity and sensitivity disorders. After the period of hysteria, which concerned mainly women, he became interested in mental constitutions and in particular hypochondria, which concerns mainly men. His major contribution was to found epileptology by clarifying the clinic and etiology, emphasizing the importance of obstetrical traumas, cranio-cerebral confusion of the child, alcoholism and parental syphilis. He will be followed by P. Loiseau later on. He was a correspondent for the National Academy of Medicine.
Finally, in transition with the 20th century, we would like to recall the contribution of two other great names in Bordeaux neurology: Henri Verger and René Cruchet.

Henri Verger (1873-1930) had been a clinic manager at Albert Pitres. He became an associate of internal medicine and forensic medicine, then professor of medical clinic. He is remembered as a master in neurology for his experimental and clinical research on hemianesthesia, parietal syndrome, polyneuritis stereoagnosia (with J. Abadie), neuralgia (with A. Pitres), including the 1909 observation princeps with alcohol for facial neuralgia.

René Cruchet (1875-1959) held the chair of Pathology and Therapeutics (fig. 3) and then in 1923 of the Medical Clinic for Children's Diseases. He left his name to the epidemic encephalitis "diffuse encephalomyelitis with polymorphic clinical forms", which he described in the armies during the First World War.
Von Economo did the same in the German armies (lethargic encephalitis), hence the popular name Economo-Cruchet disease. Despite its disappearance around 1925, this disease aroused passionate interest, countless works and marked neurology because of its delayed manifestations, disrupting many chapters of neurology and psychiatry, rare syndromes becoming more frequent, others reputed pithiatic acquiring an organicity. R. Cruchet had already made himself famous with his "Treaty of Spastic Torticollis" of 1907.
With H. Verger and with the collaboration of D. Anglade and A. Hesnard, then a professor at the School of Naval Medicine, published "Les états parkinsoniens et le syndrome bradykinétique", after the epidemic (Baillière, 1925), which was a landmark event, with his article in the Lancet that same year. He published a Neurology Manual in 1945. It should be noted that in 1943, upon his retirement, he published "De la méthode en médecine" after his PhD thesis, defended that same year; a second edition will be published at the PUF in 1951.

A clinical and scientific synthesis: the considerable influence of Paul Delmas-Marsalet (1898-1977)
Intern in 1922, then head of Henri Verger's clinic, he was also a trainer in Victor Pachon's laboratory (1867-1939, who wrote his thesis on the role of the brain in respiration) and in 1925 passed a highly noted thesis on "the motor functions of the caudate nucleus in dogs". For several decades he pursued a career as a clinical neuropsychiatrist and nervous system experimenter. In 1941, he succeeded his master Jean Abadie and became a clinical professor of nervous and mental diseases. It is commonly reported that it was his medical and scientific culture that he could have contributed to almost all aggregations.

Paul Delmas-Marsalet has spent his life experimenting, researching, testing hypotheses, always at the hinge between the fundamental and the clinical, in the best sense of a French tradition of experimental medicine. In 1935, always in advance, he published in the Revue Neurologique a clarification that became a classic: "Essais de chirurgie physiologique dans le parkinsonisme"; in the 1960s he wrote two reference works: a précis of Neurophysiology and a précis of Neurology. His clinical lessons attracted crowds, like an H. Bergson at the Collège de France, with whom he was intellectually close. Served by a rare oratory gift and endowed with an exceptional charisma, he bewitched and knew how to place the most complex clinical facts, psychiatric or neurological, in a broader scientific and cultural perspective.
From his North American experiences he returned strengthened in his vision of integrated academic neuropsychiatry. He designed and built, according to his plans and on the model of certain American institutes, a neuropsychiatric hospital, the Jean Abadie Centre, inaugurated in 1956. The local and regional authorities chaired by Jacques Chaban-Delmas had provided the funding. This hospital, of a new concept, was the first of its kind built in France. Built on four floors, it included the departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, all the specialized laboratories on the ground floor and... in the basement of the research laboratories with animal facilities.

The cohabitation of the latter with the care system proved impossible in practice. Paul Delmas-Marsalet supervised two Psychiatry departments, one for women headed by Michel Bergouignan, one for men headed by Marc Blanc and one for neurology headed by Louis Arné and Jean Julien. Very comfortable, simple and direct in human relations (he devoted himself to Saint Vincent de Paul, chaplain of the galley, also born in Dax), he received and advised young students, without hierarchical barriers, in interviews where time no longer counted. It has thus marked several generations, inspired and guided very diverse vocations, reflecting its multiple interests. He was very impressed by Hughlings Jackson's ideas, which inspired many researchers and neuropsychiatrists, and in France Henri Ey and Jean Rouart with organodynamics.

Paul Delmas-Marsalet had observed the effects of seismotherapy extensively. He had invented, among a thousand other things, an electroshock device and conceived the theory of dissolution-reconstruction which he published in a 1943 book, also close to the work of Kurt Goldstein. Georges Canguilhem, in "Le normal et le pathologique, édition 1966, p. 125", interpreting the writings and thoughts of P. Delmas-Marsalet notes: "It was again Jackson's ideas that guided Delmas-Marsalet in the interpretation of the results obtained in neuropsychiatric therapy by the use of electroshock. But not content to distinguish with Jackson between negative deficit disorders and positive disorders by releasing the remaining parts, Delmas-Marsalet, like Ey and Rouart, insists on what the disease reveals as abnormal, that is, exactly again. In a brain subjected to toxic, traumatic, infectious effects, changes consisting of new connections from one territory to another, with different dynamic orientations, may occur. A cellular whole, quantitatively unchanged, is capable of a new arrangement, different bonds of "isomeric type", as in chemistry isomers are compounds with identical global formula, but some chains of which are otherwise placed with respect to a common nucleus.
From a therapeutic point of view, it must be admitted that coma, obtained by electroshock, allows, after a dissolution of neuropsychic functions, a reconstruction that is not necessarily the reverse reappearance of the steps of prior dissolution. Healing can be interpreted as a mutation from one arrangement to another or as a restitution of the initial state. If we indicate these very recent conceptions, it is to show to what extent the idea that the pathological is not linearly deduced from the normal, tends to impose itself. Anyone who repels Goldstein's language and manner will agree with Delmas-Marsalet's conclusions, precisely because of what we personally consider their weakness, namely the vocabulary and images of psychological atomism (building, rubble, arrangements, architecture, etc.) that they use to formulate themselves. But, despite the language, clinical probity establishes facts that are worth remembering.

Paul Delmas-Marsalet left a considerable neurological, psychiatric, neurophysiological work. In addition to the direct collaborators mentioned above, a plethora of young people who have worked with him, or met him, (M. Bourgeois, P. Henry, Cl. Vital, J.D. Vincent, the future paediatrician J. Battin; and M. Le Moal) will emerge marked. Paul Delmas-Marsalet was this go-between to modern clinical and experimental neurosciences (fig. 4), a link and a precursor, a visionary, from whom we all, quite naturally, gave birth in Bordeaux to this new science that was being constituted in the United States. He was a corresponding member of the Academy of Medicine.


Clinical neuroscience

Michel Bergouignan (1907-1970) was also to honour this prestigious chair of neuropsychiatry by the succession of the illustrious masters who had directed it since the beginning of the 19th century. His colleagues, many of whom were Paul Delmas-Marsalet's students, his collaborators and his students will constitute a bundle of skills, at a time when neurology and psychiatry were going to separate and when the explosion of techniques and knowledge would divide the discipline into more specialized fields. Mr. Bergouignan was the head of Jean Abadie's clinic, a medical associate in 1946, a professor in his personal capacity in 1962, and Paul Delmas-Marsalet's successor for only one year. Michel Bergouignan, with a strong, discreet and endearing personality, who died too soon, can be considered the last of the great Bordeaux neuropsychiatrists (fig. 5).

His work has covered an immense field, not only from neurology and psychiatry to internal medicine, but also to medical and general psychology. He taught that the psychiatrist should be the one who, in his understanding of the sick man, should ensure that he holds both ends of the chain in his hands, from the "organic" determinants to the "psychological" determinants. His teaching of medical psychology showed his deep knowledge of thinkers like H. Bergson and M. Merleau-Ponty and the German authors he could read in the text (E. Husserl, K. Goldstein). Very quickly, he introduced concepts and methods valuing the doctor-patient relationship, psychosomatic approaches, Balint group dynamics, relaxation techniques.

As a promoter of the progress of nascent psychopharmacology and neurochemistry, he nevertheless considered psychotherapeutic approaches to be essential and was open to methods inspired by phenomenology, even psychoanalysis, whose "excessive totalitarianism" he nevertheless detected. He was one of the first in France to promote cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy. He was also the first to recommend the use of an antiepileptic (diphenylhydantoin) in facial neuralgia. His work has left its mark on topics such as Kugelberg-Welander spinal amyotrophy, carcinomatous meningitis, herpes encephalitis, migraines. He was able to guide and support his students in specific and new ways.
Marc Blanc (1915-1996), a philosopher by birth, will become a professor of psychiatry. He will remain throughout his career very close to the human sciences and phenomenology that he spread through his teaching. Louis Arné (1919-2006), who graduated in 1974, was able to create a large functional and neurological rehabilitation department from the head of the school of physiotherapy, where he was a renowned pioneer and where clinical neuropsychology would occupy its full place. We owe him in France the integration of this discipline in the field of functional rehabilitation.

Pierre Loiseau (1926-2004), when he was head of the clinic, was also very marked by the personality of Mr. Bergouignan. At the same time he was introduced to electroencephalography, under the direction of Jacques Faure, a training that he completed at La Salpêtrière with Antoine Rémond. His taste for clinical practice and his incomparable mastery of the electroencephalographic tool led him to turn to epileptology. He became an aggregate in 1961. He had prepared for this position with his Bordeaux masters and in Paris with Paul Castaigne, who adopted him and whom he considered his master of thought and guide, particularly after the brutal death of Michel Bergouignan (1970), whom he succeeded as full professor of the Neurological Clinic Chair in 1971. He became an active member of the EpiClub, then of the French League against Epilepsy. He became an internationally renowned master in the discipline, with electro-clinical, pharmacological and epidemiological work, reflected in his book "Les Epilepsies" with P. Jallon, and its six successive editions. He individualized Romantic paroxysmal epilepsy, the isolated seizure syndrome of adolescence; his report on the borders of the Little Evil is a classic. Until 1980, he helped to optimize the use of all medications in use, while defining the syndromic approach to drug selection. Then he was a pioneer in the adventure of what have been called the new anti-epileptics, carrying out pivotal studies for each. At the same time, he set up with A. Rougier one of the first French centres for epilepsy surgery. The epidemiological research conducted under his authority is a reference, in particular the Carole study on 2000 patients with 243 French neurologists. In total, he will explore the most diverse fields of Neurology: acute necrotizing encephalitis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, adrenoleukodystrophy, relapsing-remitting polyradiculonephritis, sarcoidosis neuropathies, Waldenström disease, etc. The magazine Epilepsies (review of the French League and the French-speaking Leagues against Epilepsy) will pay a vibrant tribute to him in 2005 (vol. 17, January-March 2005) (fig. 6).

The neuropsychiatry of the child and the neuropaediatrics were to develop under the impulse of Pierre Verger (1908-1990), son of Henri Verger. He had defended his thesis in Paul Delmas-Marsalet's department on Gélineau syndrome or narcolepsy-cataplexy syndrome. He became head of the clinic in René Cruchet's department while continuing to collaborate with Michel Bergouignan. A graduate in Pediatrics in 1948, he became a professor of the Children's Diseases Clinic in 1967 (Fig. 7). He had also participated in experimental studies in dogs concerning the role of striated bodies in the balance and functions of caudate and lenticular nuclei under the authority of P. Delmas-Marsalet. He has published numerous articles on microcephalus, hydrocephalus, intermediate forms of neurogenic amyotrophies, bending spasms and petit mal. He organized an early medical action center for cerebral palsy. After a period of time marked by the pre-eminence of psychoanalysis, pedopsychiatry has regained its medical model with young clinicians attending Neuroscience laboratories.

Birth of Experimental Neuroscience

The methods and techniques of exploration of the nervous system were to be perfected and in the 1950s, very roughly, three main modes of approach were to benefit from significant advances: neuroanatomy with new techniques of colouring, molecular marking and electron microscopy, neurophysiology with electron technology, microelectrodes, deep recording-stimulation approaches and stereotactic atlases, and functional approaches that will benefit from the benefits of Anglo-Saxon experimental psychology and behavioural sciences; Here we must recall the considerable impact of behavioural sciences derived from behaviourism or from ethology on the development of neuroscience; this role is difficult to imagine today. The 1950s and 1960s were marked by the discovery of chemical transmissions, monoamines. A new technique (Falk-Hillarp) will make it possible to visualize neurons because of their content and chemical secretion. This revolution, dating from 1963, will lead to another one, the discovery of the sites of action of psychotropic molecules introduced into psychiatry ten years earlier (H. Laborit and the School of Sainte Anne with J. Delay and P. Deniker). Insofar as psychotropic drugs act through neurochemical transmissions, a medical model for psychiatry and a group of disciplines brought together in neuropsychopharmacology emerged for the first time. Rarely has this hypothesis been so productive in the life sciences. Finally, another discipline was to emerge in the 1960s and 1970s: neuroendocrinology.

All these approaches and disciplines were soon to be represented in Bordeaux. Two laboratories were to form the basis for the development of experimental neuroscience. The first pole was constituted by Jacques Faure (1912-1986), professor at the Faculty of Medicine. Jacques Faure was Paul Delmas-Marsalet's student. After the agrégation in 1953, he became professor of experimental medicine and created the Department of Functional Explorations of the Nervous System at the University Hospital. His student will be Pierre Loiseau. In the 1950s, he had also created an experimental medicine laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine. This laboratory will be the first laboratory in Bordeaux to be attached to the Institut National d'Hygiène (precursor of Inserm). Jacques Faure was trained at the Montreal Neurological Institute where he became a Senior Fellow of Mac Gill University. This laboratory was world famous for the presence of two great masters, W. Penfield (1891-1976) and H. Jasper (1906-1999). J. Faure perfected his electroencephalographic recording techniques there. Her research theme has focused on the links between neuroendocrine systems and fundamental behaviours with a particular interest in hydro-mineral balance and especially sexual behaviour. By 1955, he understood the importance of the effects of hormones (neuro-hormones) on central neural systems. In this regard, he is a precursor in the highlighting of amino acids and later peptides in synaptic transmission. Moreover, this curious and original spirit establishes strong relationships between sexual behaviour and states of alertness. During chronic recordings in rabbits, he shows that after intercourse, the rabbit presents a very particular state that he calls "Olfacto-Bucco-Ano-Genital Behaviour, or OBAG". He will try to find a neurobiological support for the OBAGs through a multi-electrode analysis and will describe the circuit called "Rhombencephalo- mesencephalo-septo-habenulo-hypothalamo-rhinencephalic". He thus perceived the overall involvement of the nervous system in the behaviour(s).

This conception that complex pipelines depended on circuits integrating several regions was innovative. In addition, the electrophysiological correlate of OBAG was isomorphic to a REM sleep phase. Professor Michel Jouvet (Lyon) later paid tribute to J. Faure for having, as a pioneer, described "a piece of REM sleep". Jacques Faure had a student, also a neurophysiologist, Jean-Didier Vincent, who had also been Mr. Bergouignan's student. From the early 1960s, J.D. Vincent developed this hormone-brain theme and created neuroendocrinology in Bordeaux (Inserm Unit) with the implementation of new electrophysiology techniques and unit recordings. Jean-Didier Vincent then left Bordeaux to pursue a brilliant career in Paris (including managing the CNRS laboratory in Gif-sur-Yvette). His students will continue his work by creating several laboratories.

The second pole was created in the early 1960s by Bernard Cardo (1923). Bernard Cardo, philosopher of origin, then psychologist, was the student of Jean Château, professor of psychology at the Faculty of Arts and who had implemented experimental psychology there with the help of the CNRS. Bernard Cardo had become a researcher at the CNRS and had completed his State thesis in Science under the patronage of A. Soulairac, psychiatrist at Sainte Anne and professor of psychophysiology at the Faculty of Sciences in Paris. The research topic developed in the thesis concerned the relationship between vigilance and learning with improved skin conditioning methods in rats, localized lesion techniques of pontic and thalamic reticular structures and behavioural pharmacology. Appointed professor of psychophysiology, Bernard Cardo left the Faculty of Arts and moved to the Faculty of Science in 1964 with his first assistant, Michel Le Moal. Both created a body of psychophysiology research associated with the CNRS focused on brain-behavioural relationships, the neural bases of learning and memory and the neural substrates of strengthening processes, the "reward system" discovered a few years earlier. At the end of the 1970s, Michel Le Moal changed universities and moved to the Medical University of Bordeaux with his CNRS group and then Inserm.

Contemporary Neuroscience (since 1970)

The very rapid development of these ensembles in the 1970s was surprising, both scientifically and humanly. The international level was reached at that time. All the laboratories had ongoing collaborations with the United States and other European countries, which allowed the recruitment of many French and foreign researchers. Many of these researchers are currently leading groups or units in Bordeaux, France or abroad. University courses in neuroscience are created and postgraduate courses (DEA and Doctorate) become common to Bordeaux neurosciences.
This period also saw the birth of many clinical disciplines including neuroradiology, neurosurgery, neuropathology, neurology specializing in sub-disciplines (peripheral nerve, headache and pain, demyelinating diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, etc...). Psychiatry, which has become autonomous, will also be strengthened by specialties, behavioural psychiatry, depression-anxiety, psychoses, pharmacoepidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, addictology.

On the site of the University of Bordeaux 2 and on these very solid foundations, neuroscience will take a new lease of life at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s due to a federal policy marked by two events, on the one hand, the establishment of a Federal Research Institute (IFR) in clinical and experimental neuroscience (now SFR), the first created in the field of the brain in France, and on the other hand by the implementation of a project to build a research institute, the Institut François Magendie de neurosciences, on the site and in the extension of the existing Inserm units (J.D. Vincent, M. Le Moal). These two projects were led by Michel Le Moal. The IFR, designed in 1993, was intended to bring together potentialities, to integrate clinical research (symbolically placed at the top of the IFR title) and experimental research, and to develop common issues on selected themes. The technical means were federated, new workshops and technical platforms were created. Doctoral teaching and training received a new impetus. The IFR included all actions in neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, psychiatry and neurosciences, i.e. (in the 1990s) 190 researchers, clinicians and technicians. The selected programmes, based on the interactions between the clinic and basic research, were very well endowed within the framework of a State-Region Plan Contract, for an equivalent of nearly four million euros. The IFR has since become the Institute of Neurosciences. The Institut François Magendie, completed in 1995, will bring about the expansion of the laboratories, the recognition of new teams and the desire of French and foreign colleagues to move to Bordeaux. It immediately constituted a complex of about 12000 m2 and was equipped with all the desirable technical facilities. Four laboratories from Inserm and two from CNRS were set up there. The quality of the scientific production of the Institute of Neurosciences is high: see the publications...

As mentioned above, practically all the themes of experimental research are currently represented by a group or laboratory.

The federative structure brings together the Universities of Bordeaux 1 and 2, Inserm, CNRS, INRA, CHU de Bordeaux and CHS Charles Perrens. It was successively directed by:

Michel Le Moal (1995-1998)
Jean François Dartigues (1998-1999)
Dominique Poulain (1999-2002)
Bernard Bioulac (2002-2009)
Christophe Mulle (2009-2010)
Jean Marc Orgogozo (2011---- 2014)
Christophe Mulle (2015 - 2018)

The Neurocampus project, created by the University of Bordeaux and the Aquitaine Regional Council, aims to become one of the largest European research centres in neuroscience, which will make it possible to meet the current major challenge: to overcome neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Concretely, it will integrate all the institutes, its definitive name: Bordeaux Neurocampus


To the questions that introduced this historical essay, it seems easy to us to answer positively. In Bordeaux, at its University of Medical and Biological Sciences, and this since the beginning of the 19th century, brain sciences have always been represented at the highest level: they were a major discipline because of the national and international influence of Masters and pioneers who were great clinicians and researchers. They were the actors in the transmission of a culture of brain science, which has been handed down uninterruptedly and as a legacy from the 19th century to the present day. These founders had a global culture of the discipline and probably relatively exhaustive. Fundamentally neuropsychiatrists, they were on the front line of the knowledge of their time and multiple subjects awakened their spirit of research, both in neurology and psychiatry, of which they had a broad vision.
We are currently in narrow fields of research, which we call more "sharp"; the specialties are subdivided into subspecialties or technological skills. Very often the boundary blurs in our practice between the researcher and the engineer. Knowledge is transformed every five years through technical feats. Our field of vision and culture has narrowed. The Bordeaux neuroscientific community has just obtained the creation of a neuropole, called Bordeaux-Neurocampus, intended to welcome other teams and to provide the most modern facilities for doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and foreign sabbatical students, and above all to allow more collaboration between the teams on federal themes. It is a tribute to the practice of all these founding masters.