Part 8: Witness To The Historical Truth


Is there any other person who can testify to the historical truth?

Yes, indeed there is! And furthermore a highly authoritative person. My mentor at the time when I was working on my doctoral thesis, and with whom I was fortunate to become a coworker, my friend Nils-Åke Hillarp had given a description in an expert opinion of 1963 in which he wrote:

“Already his [Falck’s] research on the various endocrine cell types of the ovary, and their interaction, marks him as an important researcher who – by introducing entirely novel techniques – has opened new avenues for ovarian research. His thesis must be considered groundbreaking within the field of ovarian endocrinology.

Falck has achieved results of still greater importance and reach for morphology, physiology and pharmacology in his investigations of the histochemistry and cellular localisation of the biogenic monoamines. His development of a practically useful, highly sensitive and specific method for demonstration of an array of monoamines at the cellular level has revolutionized the possibilities to study the monoaminergic mechanisms that play an important role nearly everywhere within an organism.

For example, Falck and Torp were the first to be able to demonstrate accumulation of adrenergic transmitters in sympathetic nerve terminals. One of the foremost workers in the area, Professor U. von Euler, has designated this as one of the most important advancements within this field during the past 20 years. This has enabled us, for the first time, to directly demonstrate and study the extent and structure of the entire adrenergic innervation apparatus throughout the various tissues and organs of the body.

Without any doubt, Falck has hereby delivered the most important contribution to neurohistology since the era of Golgi and Cajal. Additionally, it has now become possible to localize the monoamines in the brain on a cellular level which is of fundamental importance for the understanding of the function of these amines within the CNS. Thus, Falck has provided entirely new and very important and far-reaching contributions to research within two separate fields of high current value.

This is so much more impressive in view of the fact that extensive work has been conducted for a long time trying to solve these problems – although with little or no success – that Falck has tackled.” (Hillarp’s expert opinion 1963, p 20)

When Hillarp writes For example, Falck and Torp – as the first – were able to directly demonstrate the accumulation of adrenergic transmitters in sympathetic nerve endings he is precisely referring to Falck, B. and A. Torp: New evidence for the localization of noradrenalin in adrenergic nerve terminals. Med.exp. 1962, 6: 169–172. (Med Exp 1962)

It is interesting to note that this statement also appears in his expert opinion:

“As mentioned in the introduction, Falck, A. Torp and I, the undersigned, partly in collaboration with A.Carlsson and his coworkers, in 1959 began research concerning the histochemistry of the monoamines. Out of Falck’s 29 works in this field, 10 have been done together with me and, in part, together with Carlsson´s group.

It is of course difficult to make a fair weighing of Falck’s contribution in this cooperative effort, but I would like to agree with A. Carlsson’s statement in a document (8 March 1962) concerning Falck’s application for a position as research docent.”

“I am anxious to emphasize that Falck has played a decidedly important role also in those components of the projects that have been undertaken in cooperation between Hillarp and the undersigned. When Falck began to participate in this research team he had already documented his ability to perform independent fundamental research. He should therefore be regarded as fully equal with the senior members of the group and he has, in addition, assumed responsibility for a larger part of the work than they have.”

(Hillarp’s expert opinion 1963, p 11)

The story continues… Part 9: In Lund, And Only In Lund