Karl Kleist (1879–1960) was a German neurologist and psychiatrist who made notable advances in descriptive psychopathology and neuropsychology. His work links to that of Carl Wernicke and Karl Leonhard. Kleist coined the terms unipolar (‘einpolig’) and bipolar (‘zweipolig’) that are now used in the concepts of Unipolar depression and Bipolar Disorder. His main publication is in the field of neurology. Localisation of function in the cerebral cortex of man including mapping of cortical functions on brain maps. The work is based on several hundred cases of shot wounded patients of World War I, whose functional deficits Kleist deliberately studied and described in detail during their lifetime. Later on, by means of brain autopsy, he documented the lesion and was, thus, able to localize brain function in each single case doing this also on cytoarchitectonical grounds.
1879: Born 31 January at Mühlhausen, Alsace.
Student at the Universities of Straßburg, Heidelberg, Berlin and Munich.
1902: Graduated in medicine in Munich
1909: Published classic monograph on psychomotor disorders of movement in psychiatric patients.
1909–1914: Senior Physician, Psychiatric Clinic, Erlangen University (directed by Specht)
1914 - 1916. Service in a military hospital on the Western Front. Organised a hospital for injuries and diseases of the nervous system. Worked partly as a neurosurgeon. Experience of the effects of localised brain lesions resulted in Gehirnpathologie, published in 1934.
1916 - 1920: Professor of Psychiatry, University of Rostock.
1920 - 1950: Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Frankfurt am Main and Director of the University Neuropsychiatric Clinic. Reorganised and modernised the university mental hospital. Responsible for new University Neuropsychiatric Clinic (opened 1950).
1950–1960: Director of the Research Institute for Brain Pathology and Psychopathology.
1960: died 26 December
Kleist studied both brain pathology and clinical Neurology and Psychiatry, which he regarded as closely allied fields. He rejected Kraepelin’s division of the functional psychoses into two divisions: dementia praecox (later renamed schizophrenia) and manic-depressive insanity, and attempted to isolate a large number of disease entities which he believed were due to focal brain lesions. This led to detailed description and analysis of neurological and psychiatric symptoms. He had many collaborators, among whom Karl Leonhard is notable for his genetic (at that time mainly family history) studies on groups of patients classified by Kleist. This line of work was carried on by Helmut Beckmann, co-founder of the International Wernicke-Kleist-Leonhard Society.
Papers and books
- K. Kleist, Die klinische Stellung der Motilitätspsychosen (Vortrag auf der Versammlung des Vereins bayerischer Psychiater, München, 6.-7-6-1911). Z. Gesamte Neurol. Psychiatr. Referate 3 (1911), pp. 914–977.
- K. Kleist, Über zykloide Degenerationspsychosen, besonders Verwirrtheits- und Motilitätspsychosen. Arch. Psychiatry 78 (1926), pp. 100–115.
- K. Kleist, Über zykloide, paranoide und epileptoide Psychosen und über die Frage der Degenerationspsychosen. Schweiz. Arch. Neurol. Psychiatr. 23 (1928), pp. 3–37.
- Karl Kleist (1934). Gehirnpathologie. Barth. Unknown parameter
- Karl Kleist (1934). Kriegsverletzungen des Gehirns in ihrer Bedeutung für die Hirnlokalisation und Hirnpathologie. Barth. Unknown parameter
- Karl Kleist (1953). "Die Gliederung der neuropsychischen Erkrankungen". Monatsschrift für Psychiatrie und Neurologie 125 (5-6): 526–554. doi:10.1159/000139931.
- Bartsch JM, Neumärker K, Franzek E. and Beckman H.Karl Kleist, 1879–1960, Am J Psychiatry 157:5, May 2000
- Angst J, Marneros A (December 2001). "Bipolarity from ancient to modern times: conception, birth and rebirth". J Affect Disord 67 (1–3): 3–19. doi:10.1016/S0165-0327(01)00429-3. PMID 11869749.
- Kleist, 1934. K. Kleist, Gehirnpathologie, Barth, Leipzig (1934a)
- Kleist. 1934. K. Kleist, Kriegsverletzungen des Gehirns in ihrer Bedeutung für die Hirnlokalisation und Hirnpathologie, Barth, Leipzig (1934b)
- Fish FJ & Stanton JB, translators’ preface, in: Kleist, K Sensory Aphasia and Amusia. The Myeloarchitectonic Basis. Oxford: Pergamon Press 1962.