Raymond Delacy Adams

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Raymond Delacy Adams (February 13, 1911 – October 18, 2008) [1] was an American neurologist. He was Bullard Professor of Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School and chief of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.[2] Along with Maurice Victor, Adams was the author of Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology.

Born near Portland, Oregon, Adams was the son of William Henry Adams and Eva Mabel Morriss.[2] He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Psychology. He received his M.D. from the Duke University School of Medicine in 1936.[3] Adams became chief of neurology at Massachusetts General in 1951 retiring in 1977. Dr. Adams had an encyclopedic knowledge of adult neurology, pediatric neurology, and neuro-pathology and is widely regarded as the most pre-eminent American neurologist of the mid-20th century. Dr.Adams had that rare combination of being an outstanding clinician and astute scientist. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1955.[4] He helped found the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Mental Retardation.

In 1949, together with Joseph Michael Foley he described negative myoclonus[5] and in 1953 they coined the term asterixis.[6] In 1963 the Australian neurologist James Waldo Lance described together with him the posthypoxic myoclonus later called Lance-Adams syndrome.[7] Dr. Adams, in collaboration with his colleague and dear friend Dr. C. Miller Fisher, made important contributions to the field of cerebrovascular disease, the syndrome of "transient global amnesia", and in 1965 published a landmark article in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the syndrome of "normal pressure hydrocephalus". Dr. Adams also first described central pontine myelinolysis. The neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital was the most sought after position under the tutelage of Drs. Adams, C. Miller Fisher, and E.P. Richardson in the 1950s.60s,and 70s. Many of Dr. Adams trainees went on to pursue distinguished careers and leadership roles in academic and clinical neurology and psychiatry.

In 2009 Dr. Robert Laureno published an excellent biography "Raymond Adams: a life of mind and muscle" (Oxford University Press) based on interviews with 50 of Dr. Adams colleagues. Adams died in Boston of congestive heart failure aged 97.[8]


  1. ^ "Raymond D Adams". Social Security Death Index. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Raymond Delacy Adams". Memorial Minutes. Harvard Medical School Office for Faculty Affairs. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  3. ^ Stump, Elizabeth (November 6, 2008). "Leader of Modern Neurology Raymond D. Adams, MD, Dies at 97". Neurology Today. 8 (21): 3–4. doi:10.1097/01.NT.0000342280.52429.85. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  4. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  5. ^ Adams RD, Foley JM. "The neurological changes in the more common types of severe liver disease". Trans American Neurology Association 1949; 74: 217–19
  6. ^ Adams RD, Foley JM. "The neurological disorder associated with liver disease". In: Merritt HH, Hare C, eds. Metabolic and Toxic Diseases of the Nervous System (Res Publ Assoc Res Nerv Ment Dis, Vol 32). Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins 1953: 198–237
  7. ^ Lance JW, Adams RD. "The syndrome of intention or action myoclonus as a sequel to hypoxic encephalopathy". Brain 1963; 86: 111–36
  8. ^ Marquard, Bryan (October 26, 2008). "Dr. Raymond D. Adams, 97; Mass. General neurology chief coauthored textbook". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 19, 2011.

Raymond Adams: a life of mind and muscle. by Robert Laureno, Oxford University Press, 2009

Adams RD, Fisher CM, Hakim S, et al Symptomatic Adult Hydrocephalus with Normal Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure: A Treatable Syndrome, New England Journal of Medicine 1965; 273: 117-126