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Alf Brodal (25 January 1910 – 29 February 1988) was a Norwegian professor of anatomy with a particular interest in mneuroanatomy.


He was born in Oslo as a son of the doctor of engineering Peter Brodal (1872–1935) and his wife Helene Kathrine Obenauer (1879–1934). He took the examen artium in 1929 and the degree in 1937. He took the degree in 1940 on the thesis Experimentelle Untersuchungen über die olivocerebellare Lokalisation. He was hired at the University of Oslo in 1943, and was promoted to professor in 1950. He was a specialist in neuroanatomy, and was particularly interested in the cerebellum, the reticular substance and the vestibular nuclei. He worked closely with Jan Birger Jansen.[1]

In an influential 1947 review, Alf Brodal pointed out that mammal species thought to have no sense of smell nevertheless have fully intact hippocampal formations, that removal of the hippocampal formation did not affect the ability of dogs to perform tasks dependent on olfaction, and that no fibers were actually known that carry information directly from the olfactory bulb to any part of the hippocampal formation.[2] Though massive direct input from the olfactory bulb to the entorhinal cortex has subsequently been found,[3] the current view is that the hippocampal formation is not an integral part of the olfactory system.[4]

His books include Nevro-anatomi i relasjon til klinisk nevrologi (1943), the translation Neurological Anatomy in Relation to Clinical Medicine (1948) and Centralnervesystemet (1949). In 1973, after suffering a stroke the previous year, he wrote an unusual article, Self-Observations and Neuro-Anatomical Considerations After a Stroke, published in the journal Brain.[1] He chaired the editorial committee of the Norwegian journal Tidsskrift for Den norske Lægeforening from 1959 to 1975. He also had a considerable catalogue of publications in popular science.[5]

Brodal served as the dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1964 to 1966, and as vice rector from 1967 to 1969 under rector Hans Vogt. From 1966 to 1969 he was a member of Hovedkomiteen for norsk forskning. He retired as a professor in 1977.[1]

Brodal was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters from 1944 to his death. He received honorary degrees at Uppsala University (1966), University of Paris (1975) and the University of Oxford (1983). He was proclaimed as a Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1969, and was promoted to Commander of the same order in 1980.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Brodal was married to physiotherapist Inger Olivia Hannestad (1910–1986). He died in 1988 in Bærum.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Larsen, Øivind (1999). "Alf Brodal". Norsk biografisk leksikon 1. Ed. Helle, Knut. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved on 10 March 2009. 
  2. (1947). Hippocampus and the sense of smell. Brain 70 (Pt 2): 179–222.
  3. (1984). The connections of the mouse olfactory bulb: a study using orthograde and retrograde transport of wheatgerm agglutinin conjugated to horsradish peroxidase. Brain Research Bulletin 12 (6): 669–688.
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Amaral2007-2
  5. "Alf Brodal". Store norske leksikon. (2007). Ed. Henriksen, Petter. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved on 5 March 2009. 

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