Niels A. Lassen

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Niels Alexander Lassen (December 7, 1926 – April 30, 1997) was a Danish neurologist and pioneer in the fields of neuroimaging, neuropsychiatry, nuclear medicine. He was born and died in Copenhagen.

His father, H.C.A. Lassen, was professor at the University of Copenhagen, and Niels Lassen graduated as medical doctor from the same university in 1951. With his colleague Ole Munck he began in the 1950s to use radioactive isotopes for the measurement of the blood circulation in the brain, and in the beginning of the 1960s he together with David H. Ingvar from University of Lund began the development of methods for regional measurements on the brain with krypton-85 and xenon-133 isotopes.[1][2] These efforts were summarized in a Scientific American article in 1978.[3] Lassen has been called the greatest Danish brain researcher since Niels Steensen.

He was employed at Bispebjerg Hospital in 1958 to 1996. From 1963 he established and lead the department of Clinical Physiology. He wrote 710 scientific publications in the periode 1954-2000+. He was married to Edda Sveinsdottir who as a computer scientist helped with the development of the (at that time) advanced computer technology for image construction of the regional brain measurements.

The Niels Lassen Award[edit]

There is a Niels Lassen Award[4] presented by the International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM). ((The Danish medical doctor, brain researcher and "science entertainer" Peter Lund Madsen was a student of Niels A. Lassen, and Peter Lund Madsen received the Niels A. Lassen Prize in 2002.[5]))

Previous recipients have included :

Lassen himself received the Novo Nordisk Prize in 1968, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.[6] and was the first recipient of the inaugural International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM) Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.[7]




  1. ^ Ingvar, David H.; Lassen, Niels A. (1961). "Quantitative determination of regional cerebral blood-flow in man". The Lancet. 278 (7206): 806–807. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(61)91092-3. 
  2. ^ Lassen, Niels A.; Ingvar, David H. (1972). "Radioisotopic assessment of regional cerebral blood flow". Progress in Nuclear Medicine. 1: 376–409. PMID 4567822. 
  3. ^ Lassen, Niels A.; Ingvar, David H.; Skinhøj, Erik (October 1978). "Brain Function and Blood Flow" (PDF). Scientific American. 239 (4): 62–71. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1078-62. 
  4. ^ The Niels Lassen Award
  5. ^ "Niels A. Lassen Prisen 2002" (PDF). Ugeskrift for Læger. 165 (4): 354. 2003. 
  6. ^ The Novo Nordisk Prize
  7. ^ The Lifetime Achievement Award