Arthur Earl Walker

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Arthur Earl Walker (March 12, 1907 – January 1, 1995) was an American neurosurgeon, neuroscientist and epileptologist remembered for the eponymous syndromes Dandy–Walker syndrome, Dandy–Walker-like syndrome[1] and Walker–Warburg syndrome. During his career he published over 400 research articles and 8 books.[2]


Arthur Earl Walker was born in 1907 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and graduated from the University of Alberta in 1930. He undertook training at Yale University and in Amsterdam and Brussels,[3] and continued his training as instructor of neurological surgery at the University of Chicago from 1937, becoming one of a new breed of neurosurgeons who advanced the scientific study of neurology and neurosurgery.[2] During the Second World War he worked as Chief of Neurology at Cushing General Hospital in Framingham, Massachusetts, where he developed an interest in post-traumatic epilepsy.[4][5]

In 1947 he became professor of neurological surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was professor there for 25 years until his retirement in 1972, and during this time he established the division of neurosurgery and the formal resident training program in neurosurgery. He also established the electrophysiology laboratory which bears his name.[2]

He was a president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the World Federation of Neurological Societies, and after his retirement he became emeritus professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque.[3]

He died on January 1, 1995 while travelling near Tucson, Arizona, apparently of a heart attack, aged 87.[2]


In 1938 he published The Primate Thalamus[6] which explained the function of the brain. In 1951 he edited A History of Neurological Surgery.[7]

In 1942 he published an article describing congenital atresia of the foramens of Luschka and Magendie.[8] A similar case had previously been described by Walter Dandy in 1921, and the syndrome became known as the Dandy–Walker syndrome. He also published an article on Lissencephaly,[9] which became known as Walker–Warburg syndrome after publication of further articles on the disorder by Mette Warburg.[10]

In 1945-6 he published studies of the effects of penicillin on the central nervous system.[11][12]


  1. ^ Ritscher D, Schinzel A, Boltshauser E, Briner J, Arbenz U, Sigg P (February 1987). "Dandy–Walker(like) malformation, atrio-ventricular septal defect and a similar pattern of minor anomalies in 2 sisters: a new syndrome?". Am. J. Med. Genet. 26 (2): 481–91. doi:10.1002/ajmg.1320260227. PMID 3812597.
  2. ^ a b c d A. Earl Walker obituary, New York Times January 7, 1995.
  3. ^ a b Biography at
  4. ^ WALKER AE, QUADFASEL FA (February 1948). "Problems in post-traumatic epilepsy". Arch Neurol Psychiatry. 59 (2): 254–8. PMID 18861102.
  5. ^ WALKER AE, MARSHALL C, BERESFORD EN (April 1948). "Cortical activity in cases of post-traumatic epilepsy". Arch Neurol Psychiatry. 59 (4): 558. PMID 18879804.
  6. ^ A. Earl Walker. The Primate Thalamus. University of Chicago Press, 1938.
  7. ^ A. Earl Walker (Ed.) A History of Neurological Surgery. The Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore, Maryland, 1951.
  8. ^ Walker AE, Taggart JK. Congenital atresia of the foramens of Luschka and Magendie. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 1942;48:583-612.
  9. ^ Walker AE. Lissencephaly. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 1942;48:13-29.
  10. ^ Warburg M (September 1987). "Ocular malformations and lissencephaly". Eur. J. Pediatr. 146 (5): 450–2. doi:10.1007/BF00441592. PMID 3119342.
  11. ^ Walker AE, Johnson HC (December 1945). "Principles and Practice of Penicillin Therapy in Diseases of the Nervous System". Ann. Surg. 122 (6): 1125–35. doi:10.1097/00000658-194512260-00021. PMC 1618345. PMID 17858705.
  12. ^ Walker AE, Johnson HC, Case TJ, Kollros JJ (January 1946). "Convulsive Effects of Antibiotic Agents on the Cerebral Cortex". Science. 103 (2665): 116. doi:10.1126/science.103.2665.116. PMID 17795263.