We are saddened by the news received yesterday that G. Robert (Bob) DeLong, MD, recipient of the 2014 CNS Lifetime Achievement Award, passed away in Exeter, NH. Below is an obituary written primarily by his son, John DeLong, with input from other family members.

G. Robert (Bob) DeLong was born in Lafayette, Indiana in 1936. He attended Depauw University, graduating with high honors in 1957 and made Phi Beta Kappa, and Harvard Medical School cum laude in 1961. He trained in internal medicine, then did research in developmental neurobiology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was chief resident in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was appointed Chief of the Children's Neurology Unit at MGH and Harvard Medical School in 1969. His life-long interest was in neurodevelopmental diseases including metabolic disorders, infantile autism, childhood manic-depression, epilepsy and metabolic disorders.

In 1980 he encountered iodine deficiency disorder as a consultant in Ecuador. His interest in endemic cretinism (mental retardation and cerebral palsey resulting from iodine deficiency) led to further studies in Congo, Bhutan, China, Kazakstan and Siberia. He was a founding member of the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) in 1986 and co-organizer of the NIH international conference on Iodine and the Brain in 1988. In 1989 he began a study with Dr Cao Xue-yi and others of iodine supplementation of pregnant women in Xinjiang Province, China. Seeking a method to counter severe iodine deficiency in the province where iodized salt was not practicable, he conceived the idea of iodine supplementation via irrigation water. Studies of this method began in 1992. A major expansion of the program began in 1997, supported by Eunice Kennedy Shriver through the Kennedy Foundation, Kiwanis International, and UNICEF. This eventually protected some 2.6 million people in Xinjiang Province.

The method proved very successful and was fully described in a series of papers published in western medical literature and translated and published in China in 2001. A second project undertaken in Tuva, in Siberia, provides iodine supplementation of a pastoral human population by iodizing salt licks for animals. This has contributed to a more general concept of providing essential micronutrients through agricultural means – a concept being implemented by nutritionists and agricultural scientists.

Dr. DeLong moved to Duke University in North Carolina in 1988 where he retired as Emeritus Professor of Pediatric Neurology in 2007. In addition to field research on iodine deficiency, he continued his research on the causes and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders in children with particular focus on the familial and genetic bases of autism.

He was a recipient of the the Harvard Shriver Center Prize for Mental Retardation Research in 1995; the E.H. Christopherson Award and Lectureship of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2002 – awarded annually for “contributions to international child health”; awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Depauw in 2003; and the Child Neurology Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

He retired to New Hampshire where he had maintained a residence since the early 1980s. Bob struggled with Parkinsons for almost three decades but was inspiring in his courageous battle against the limitations of the disease.

He is survived by his beloved wife Nancy (Depauw '57) of 61 years, four children; John, Ann, Peter and Susan, and four grandchildren; Sarah, Katie, William and Connor.

A memorial service and musical celebration will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the Christ Church, 43 Pine St, Exeter, NH 03833.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army, 615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, Virginia 22313 and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 3803 N Fairfax Dr, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203.