Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


Arthur Rose, MD

Profile written by Robert S. Rust, MD

Arthur Rose was born in Krakow, Poland. His father was a lawyer who had served as an officer in the Austrian army during the First World War. His mother worked as a businesswoman in her family’s industrial complex. The idyllic privileged childhood and education enjoyed by Rose and his sister were desolated by the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 and the ensuing death in the holocaust of his parents, nine uncles and aunts, indeed, much of the rest of his family. The lives of Arthur and his sister were saved by an elderly couple who concealed their Jewish heritage and cared for the children on their farm for several years as if they were their own. Arthur applied himself to educating his sister. Formal education of both children resumed in Krakow at the end of World War II, but confronted by continued anti-Semitism in Poland, they move to London, where they resumed their formal education. At age 16, Arthur was apprenticed to the international fur trade. A different ambition, however, was inspired by the example and the intervention of two other Polish refugees in London: an uncle who was a gynecologist, and a family friend who was a urologist. Rose set himself diligently to the task of acquiring the fundamental scientific foundation that permitted him to apply to medical schools. This preparation earned him acceptance for medical training at Bristol university, as well as a scholarship. Many years later, in gratitude to Bristol, Dr. Rose would establish a system and provide funding for an exchange program between Bristol and the SUNY Downstate Medical Schools for medical students interested in child neurology.

Exposure to neurology was slight during Rose’s seven years of medical school and internships, and he initially committed himself to pediatrics as well as to an academic career. A year as senior pediatrics house officer in London was followed by appointment in 1959 to Sydney Gellis’ famous Pediatric Service at Boston City hospital. Pediatrician, Dick hoefnagel and neurologist, Jim Austin, discoverer of metachromatic leukodystrophy, proved influential in the decision to become a child neurologist.

While at Harvard, Dr. Rose also regularly attended the Saturday neurology teaching rounds of Derek Denny-Brown and was influenced by Neurology resident, Sid Gilman. In 1961, Dr. Rose entered the Boston Children’s hospital Child neurology training program, where Randy Byers proved an extraordinary role model, especially concerning the manner in which a history is taken, how to listen, and how to examine children without their knowing they were being examined, all skills for which Dr. Rose himself would become renowned. Particularly valuable to his career development were the program’s clinical and research concentrations on neonatal neurology, the studies of cerebral palsies directed by Richmond Paine, others concerning developmental and behavioral disorders, the epilepsy program under the direction of Cesare Lombroso, and the neurosurgery service under the direction of Donald Matson. Abner Wolf played an important role in attracting Dr. Rose’s interest to neuropathology. Systematic training in clinical neuropathology was attained under the famously rigorous direction of Betty Banker. Dr. Rose regularly attended the Harvard integrated neuroscience course that afforded him exposure to what he terms the “scientific and clinical riches” dispensed by Ray Adams, E. P. Richardson, Paul Yakovlev, Randy Byers, Maurice Victor, Richmond Paine, Alan Crocker, and Richard Sidman. Dr. Rose found the Saturday patient demonstration rounds of Phil Dodge to be particularly marvelous.

Dr. Rose’s first formal research efforts were undertaken during his child neurology training and included several studies of pseudotumor cerebri, and the results of a treatment trial for epilepsy with furosemide. however, the landmark achievement of the earliest phase of Dr. Rose’s scientific career was a longitudinal study of the clinical, electroencephalographic, and neuropathological study of 137 full-term neonates that manifested neonatal seizures – 118 subsequently followed for an average of four years. The remarkably valuable prognostic observations of this careful study enabled families accurately to be informed about the outcome for their children upon the basis of their clinical course and evaluation as neonates. This 1970 paper, subsequently cited 235 times, has stood the test of time for more forty years. In Boston, Dr. Rose met and married his first wife, Ann Maguire. The young couple moved to Montreal, where Ann completed her Masters in Medical Social Work, while Dr. Rose completed a year of additional clinical and neuroscientific training under the faculty of the Montreal Neurologic Institute, including Wilder Penfield, herbert Jasper, Pierre Gloor, Fred Andermann, and Brenda Milner.

In 1966 Dr. Rose was appointed Registrar under John Walton at the Regional Neurological Center at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Walton proved a mentor of considerable importance in Rose’s development of interest in inflammatory neuromuscular diseases. During his year with Walton, Rose completed and published as first author a number of classic papers. These included a study of the treatment and prognosis of 89 cases of polymyositis (182 citations to date), demonstration of circulating antibodies in polymyositis (45 citations to date), as well as an early investigation of the ultrastructural pathological characteristics of polymyositis. Continued interest in this disorder would lead to a longitudinal study of the immediate and long-term efficacy of corticosteroids in the treatment of polymyositis that Rose published in 1974 (45 citations to date). The significance of such high rates of citation must be placed within the context of the fact that most published scientific and clinical papers are never cited. Professor Walton also proved an important influence on Rose’s professional development, exemplifying in particular organizational skills and focus that would valuably amend Dr. Rose’s approach to professional activities. Dr. Walton also arranged for Dr. Rose to spend a year on the Queen’s Square neurology service, In 1973, Dr. Rose was recruited by henry Schutta to become Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurology and to initiate a child neurology training program at the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. The program was associated with the New York Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, directed by Dr. Rose’s Einstein collaborator, Dr. Henryk Wisniewski; this was also the site of Krystyna Wisniewski’s important clinic for rare diseases. Other faculty members included Roger and Joan Cracco, and Dr. Stanley Lamm, a great and visionary pioneer in the rehabilitation of individuals with chronic neurological diseases arising in childhood, whose long-overdue biography would be written by Dr. Rose in 2005. To Dr. Rose, child neurology was a comprehensive passion, including not only complex metabolic processes and acquired neurologic injuries. he also placed emphasis on the importance of contributing to the understanding and management of cognitive and behavioral disorders, as well as the social and psychiatric aspects of the function of children.

Under the leadership of Dr. Rose and the intelligent support of Dr. Schutta, the Downstate program was able to apply the contributions of a remarkable collection of critical thinkers and “doers of the right things” to establish an outstanding clinical and educational program based in neuroscience. One aspect of this program, as had been the case at Einstein, was particular devotion to providing for the neurological care of and neuroscientific investigations pertinent to the care of an extraordinarily large and concentrated population of socially and economically deprived individuals – many, recent immigrants – with neurological diseases. The program regularly introduced innovative approaches to training not only pediatric and adult neurology residents, but medical students as well in child neurology. Not surprisingly, Downstate regularly demonstrated the capacity to train several excellent child neurologists each year, turning out 43 excellent child neurologists pursuing careers in academic (10), research, and private practice throughout North America; eight other Downstate trainees went on to assume parallel positions abroad. During his entire career he has contributed to the formal education of nearly one-hundred trainees in child and adult neurology, as well as in pediatrics.

Dr. Rose was one of the founders of the Child Neurology Society and of the Professors of Child Neurology, assuming a leadership role in both in the establishment of training guidelines for child neurology. he was the Founder and in 1978 the first President of the Child Neurology Society of Metropolitan Tri-State Area, an organization that played an important role providing a venue for the social, clinical, and scientific meeting of resident and attending physicians from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In all of these venues, he has demonstrated a quiet and modest demeanor, along with the wisdom, vision, passion and commitment to the future of our subspecialty.

After twenty years directing the Downstate Child Neurology Program, Dr. Rose elected to resign that position to pursue further training in genetics and molecular biology, concentrating particularly on studying the function of the FMRI protein and the manner in which its deficiency leads to the Fragile x clinical phenotype. Dr. Rose has continued to pursue lifelong personal interests outside of medicine, including tennis, skiing, reading in history and historical biography, the enjoyment of impressionist art, travel, and his family. Dr. Rose’s daughter has been as a professor of English literature and novelist, while his son has pursued a career as an investment banker.