Tag Archives: neurologist

No complaints, only symptoms

Peter Arnold  Sydney, Australia   Aerial view of Sydney Harbour. 2015. Photo by user Whiteghost.ink, via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 “No complaints, only symptoms,” I told my cardiologist this year. How dare I complain? I am eighty-four. Thirty-two years have passed since my quintuple coronary artery bypass; eighteen years since a diagnosis, in one of […]

Beauty in breaking

Lealani Mae Y. Acosta Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Photo courtesy of Lealani Mae Acosta. Permission granted by Teresa Briley-Scott.  I had a succulent hanging from my office cabinet, suspended in a clear teardrop-shaped terrarium: its spiny green arches floated above a mound of fake snow, which I intermittently illuminated by touching the built-in switch […]

In praise of swimming: from Benjamin Franklin to Oliver Sacks

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Oliver Sacks as a young child with his father. Courtesy of the Oliver Sacks Foundation. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was not a physician, but many thought he was so-trained and referred to him as “Doctor” Franklin. After accepting an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in […]

Walter Russell Brain DM FRCP FRS (1895–1966)

JMS Pearce  East Yorks, England   Lord Brain. From The Royal London Hospital. Source Russell Brain (Fig 1) was born at Clovelly, Denmark Road, Reading, on 23 October 1895, the only son of Walter John Brain, solicitor, and his wife, Edith Alice. A quiet, reserved man of enormous intellect and integrity, he was revered as […]

Origins of the knee jerk

JMS Pearce  East Yorks, England   Wilhelm Heinrich Erb. By F. Langbein & Cie. Heidelberg. 1897. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 Reflex hammers are the icon or hallmark of every neurologist. How important are the reflexes they elicit? What is their mechanism? The advent of modern technology has made it easy to forget […]

Tendon reflex hammers

JMS Pearce  East York, England   Fig 1. Wintrich hammer cropped from Semantics Scholars The vogue for reflex hammers started with Erb and Westphal’s adjacent papers1,2 in the 1875 issue of the Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, which described the tendon or muscle stretch reflex. Wilhelm Heinrich Erb (1840-1921) read medicine at Heidelberg where he […]

Good patient, good doctor

Lealani Mae Acosta Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Illustration by Lealani Mae Y. Acosta What makes a “good” patient? What makes a “good” doctor? I am a cognitive behavioral neurologist who specializes in dementia. I relish the longitudinal relationship I have with patients and appreciate hearing them say with pride, “Dr. Acosta is MY doctor.” Being someone’s […]

Ahab’s gift: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and the meaning of pain

Xi Chen Rochester, New York, United States   A whale being speared with harpoons by fishermen in the arctic sea. Engraving by A. M. Fournier after E. Traviès. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) In the summer months before my first year of medical school, I unfurled the pages of Moby Dick. Immersed […]

Destination

J Rush Pierce Lakewood, CO, United States   Chasm Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. Photo taken by the author 27 August 2016. It must have started some time before, but I was unaware of it on that pleasant September day, hiking in the rocky foothills of northern New Mexico with my daughter. Arriving […]

Gordon Morgan Holmes MD., FRS.

JMS Pearce Hull, England Figure 1: Gordon Holmes “Beneath the exterior of a martinet there was an Irish heart of gold” Wilder Penfield Gordon Holmes (1876-1965) was born in Castlebellingham, Ireland. He was named after his father, a landowner, descended from a Yorkshire family that had settled in King’s County (County Offaly) in the mid-seventeenth […]