Claude Bertrand, MD, FAANS(L)
CLAUDE BERTRAND was born in Sherbrooke, Province of Québec, Canada, in March 1917, into a family of surgeons. In 1934, after his Baccalaureat-es-Arts, he went to the Université de Montréal, where he graduated in medicine in 1940. That same year, he also received a Rhodes Scholarship. After his general surgical residency in Bryn Mawr, he trained in neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute, where he benefited from the varied approaches to neurosurgery of Wilder Penfield, William Cone, and Arthur Elvidge. His training was interrupted by service in the Canadian Army, during which he was in charge of the neurosurgical wing at St. Anne-de-Bellevue Military Hospital. After completing his residency in 1946, he went to Oxford, where he worked for a year under Professors LeGros Clarke and Graham Weddell. His findings on "Diffusion and Absorption Within the Brain" were later confirmed by others with the use of isotopes.
In 1947, he established the neurosurgical department at Hôpital Notre-Dame, where he is now Chief Emeritus, as well as Professor Emeritus of Surgery at the Université de Montréal. He was President of the Medical Board of Hopital Notre-Dame and a member of the Medical Research Council of Canada. He is a consultant at the Montréal Neurological Institute and many local hospitals. In 1961, he was a delegate of the Université de Montréal to the Universities of Strasbourg, Paris, Marseilles, and Lyon, and in 1969, James IV Association Surgical Traveler to Ireland, the British Isles, and Scandinavia. He is past-President of the Montreal Neurological Society, the Canadian Neurological Society, the Société de Neurochirurgie de Langue Francaise, the Neurosurgical Society of America, the Société Medicale de Montréal, and the National Advisory Council on Fitness and Amateur Sport. He is an honorary member of the British Society of Neurological Surgeons and the Société Francaise de Neurologie. He is a member of The Neurosurgical Travel Club.
He is a Companion of the Order of Canada (1971). He was awarded: The Lawrence Poole Prize of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Edinburgh (1970-71); the Medal of the European Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery; and the Silver Medal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1977).
In 1946, he worked with Robert Malmo on specific functions of the parietal lobe, particularly on agnosia following surgical ablations in the parietal lobe. During his initial years of clinical practice, he promoted the use of carotid arteriography for head injuries and contributed to the formation of the Road Accidents Committee in Canada. After 1954 his chief interest has been the development of stereotactic surgery for the relief of involuntary movements, particularly for Parkinsons disease. He designed a stereotactic instrument with targeting screens to localize the central X-Ray beam, and with rapid fixation using only local anesthesia. The sharp Moniz leukotome was modified using a fine blunt wire for oriented lesions after stimulation and later microelectrode recording. He investigated the localization of functions within the basal structures of the brain and the optimal target for the arrest of tremor. He was also involved in the treatment of dystonias and particularly spasmodic torticollis. From this work evolved a peripheral approach using stimulation recording and nerve blocks for the relief of cervical dystonias. Selective peripheral denervation has now been used by neurosurgeons in more than 500 cases.
In 1942, he married Claire Paradis. Their four children: Hélene, Denise, Lucie and Louis are married.
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