BRAIN MATTERS: Stories of a Neurologist and His Patients by

BRAIN MATTERS: Stories of a Neurologist and His Patients

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An inside look into the complexities of the brain and the related systems of the body, as a neurologist takes us along on his daily rounds and emergencies in a California hospital. Dobkin portrays patients who suffer from a variety of neurologic diseases, ranging from Gullain. BarrÉ syndrome and Alzheimer's disease to a case of brain-death. These patients, and others, weave their way through the narrative, allowing us bedside privileges to observe their progress or reverses. Dobkin handles this in a very literate manner, We see him in his daily frustrations and in his occasional triumphs, and we see the agonies and concerns of his patients and their families in a very personal light. Yet, through it all, Dobkin manages to insert highly technical yet easy-to-understand details of the inner workings of the nervous system. These descriptions are frequent, yet they do not overly intrude or detract from the unfolding human dramas. In one such narrative, Dobkin takes us on a step-by-step neurologic examination that he undertakes on a young man who had unexplainably begun growing daily weaker. This exam is a ""head-to-toe tour of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system hidden within the skull, spinal column, and muscles,"" and via the exam, we are introduced to the mysteries of the cerebellum, the basal ganglia, and the thalamus, the brain stem, which is the neuronal version of the interstate highway system, the spinal cord, and deep tendon reflexes. Dobkin is well on his way to a second career, with as good a medical essay as Richard Selzer's Mortal Lessons.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Crown