Sir James Crichton-Browne was born in 1840 and was the son of the asylum reformer, Dr William A. F. Browne. James was never shy of confronting authorities, dogmas and cultures and paved the way for ethical treatment of the mentally ill. At the young age of 25, he was made the medical director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum not long after he qualified in medicine. He improved the environment of the hospital and established laboratories for histology, anatomy and neuropathology. In his 6th year, he started publishing the annual Medical Reports, where he had an article by himself in each volume, outlining the appropriate treatments of certain diseases.
James co-founded the journal ‘Brain’ which is a peer-reviewed scientific journal of neurology. It is published by the Oxford University press. Very early in his career, he stressed the importance of psychiatric disorders in childhood. Later on, he also emphasized on the distinction between organic (caused due to physical or physiological change to some tissue or organ of the body) and functional (caused with no physical cause) illnesses on the elderly.