A. J. Lees, "Brainspotting: Adventures in Neurology" (Notting Hill Editions, 2022)

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As a trainee doctor, A. J. Lees was enthralled by his mentors: esteemed neurologists who combined the precision of mathematicians, the scrupulosity of entomologists, and the solemnity of undertakers in their diagnoses and treatments. For them, there was no such thing as an unexplained symptom or psychosomatic problem--no difficult cases, just interesting ones--and it was only a matter of time before all disorders of the brain would be understood in terms of anatomical, electrical, and chemical connections.

Today, this kind of "holistic neurology" is on the brink of extinction as a slavish adherence to protocols and algorithms--plus a worship of machines--runs the risk of destroying the key foundational clinical skills of listening, observation, and imagination that have been at the heart of the discipline for more than 150 years.

In Brainspotting: Adventures in Neurology (Notting Hill Editions, 2022), Lees takes us on a kind of Sherlock Holmes tour of neurology, giving the reader insight into--and a defense of--the deep analytical tools that the best neurologists still rely on to diagnose patients: to heal minds and to fix brains.

Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland.

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