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Natalia Bekhtereva, a foremost Soviet/Russian neuroscientist and psychologist.

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Natalia Bekhtereva

Natalia Petrovna Bekhtereva was one of the foremost neuroscientists in Europe. Hardly anyone in the world has studied the human brains as thoroughly as she did.

Bekhtereva's titles are impressive. She was an academician of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (RAMS); foreign member of Austrian and Finland Academies of Sciences, Academy of Medicine and Psychiatry of USA, International Academy of Ecological Sciences, Man & Nature Safety; Honorary member of several International societies. Bekhtereva had scientific prizes for high input into Neuro-Physiology development. She was the author of about 350 scientific papers in field of human cerebrum physiology.

Bekhtereva is particularly famous for having laid the foundations of fundamental research and creating a unique scientific school in the physiology of healthy and sick human brain. Natalia Petrovna established a comprehensive method of studying the principles of structural and functional organization of the human brain, developed a methodology to study brain mechanisms of thought, memory, emotions and creativity.

In fact she was a pioneer in systematic study of mental processes in the brain. Her theory of pathological brain state as the basis for the adaptability of many chronic diseases of the nervous system opened up entirely new opportunities in the treatment of these diseases.

A granddaughter of a Russian Neurologist Vladimir Bekhterev, Natalia Petrovna was born in Leningrad in 1924. She was orphaned after her father, a Soviet engineer Pavel Bekhterev had been executed during the Great Purge of 1938 and her mother sent to labor camps. Natalia was raised in the orphanage. After the war, that she survived in the besieged Leningrad, Bekhtereva graduated from Saint Petersburg State Medical University. In 1950 she completed her graduate studies at the Institute of Physiology of the central nervous system of the USSR AMS. From 1950 to 1954 - Associate Fellow of the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Medical Sciences and later rose to become its director.

Natalia Petrovna Bekhtereva was the founder and a Scientific Advisor of the Institute of Human Brain RAS, of which her son, Svyatoslav Medvedev is now a director. Bekhtereva studied telepathy, alternative vision, telekinesis and other supernatural abilities of the human as a scientific phenomena, which she was often criticized for.

Bekhtereva was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1984 and the USSR State Prize for 1985. In 1972 she was also awarded the Wiener Medal in Cybernetics by the American Society for Cybernetics. She died in 2008 in Hamburg at the age of 83.


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