Domenico Cotugno, a pioneer in neurosciences.

E. Manni, L. Petrosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dominico Cotugno was born in Ruvo Pugliese on January 29, 1736. In 1756, he graduated in Medicine from the Medical School in Salerno. In 1761, Cotugno published the "Aquaeductibus auris humanae internae anatomica dissertatio" ("Anatomical dissertation on acqueducts of the human inner ear") in which he provided the first detailed description of aqueducts of the vestibule and cochlea and formulated the theory of resonance subsequently resumed by Helmholtz. Cotugno gave also the first description of the naso-palatine nerve and of its role in sneezing. In 1764, he published "Commentarius de ischiade nervosa" ("Remarks on nervous ischialgia") advancing the hypothesis that some acrid fluid might penetrate the sheaths of the sciatic nerve. In 1766, he was appointed Professor of Anatomy at the University of Naples. In 1769, he published "De sedibus variolarum syntagma" ("Investigation on the localization of variola pustules"). Furthermore, he discovered albuminuria about a half century before Bright and was also one of the first scientists to identify urea in human urine. He died at the age of 86 in 1822.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-132
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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