Obituary: William Landau, professor emeritus of neurology, 93

William Landau photo

William M. Landau, MD, a professor emeritus of neurology, died in his sleep Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at his home in University City. He was 93.

Landau was a professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis from 1954 to 2012 and served as head of the Department of Neurology from 1970 to 1991. He was the longest-serving faculty member at the School of Medicine.

“Dr. Landau was one of the great chairs of neurology of his era,” said David Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones professor and head of the Department of Neurology. “He loved St. Louis and Washington University more than anyone I know.  He was a curmudgeon who pushed everyone to be their best. I will greatly miss his iconic personality and mentorship.”

Landau specialized in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, but his interests ranged widely. With Frank Kleffner, of the Central Institute for the Deaf, he identified and described Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare disorder in which children lose the ability to speak and respond to language. He also studied how patients fared who were revived with CPR after their hearts had stopped beating, and concluded that the risk of severe, debilitating brain damage was underappreciated. He advocated for more limited use of the procedure.

Read Landau’s full obituary on the School of Medicine site.

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