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Leading Irish neurologist Niall Tubridy’s inspirational and eye-opening new book in which he talks about dealing with some of medicine’s greatest challenges is published this week. We’re delighted to welcome Niall to the Eason blog to share an excerpt from ‘Just One More Question’, in which he tells us just why the study of Neurology is so exciting.
"One of the most brilliant things about neurology and studying the brain and its dysfunction is that you learn at least one new thing about it every day. Every week at our radiology meeting I will, without fail, see something new on a brain scan or hear a suggested diagnosis from a colleague that I either did not think of or had not seen before. Or I might learn a new technique for taking pictures of the brain or a new way of approaching a patient’s problem.
The flip side of knowing a little more with each passing year, and meeting thousands of patients, is that you understand just how unclear things relating to the brain can be. Yes, I recognize most patterns of most neurological ailments at this stage, but as soon as I think I have a pattern locked down, I get caught out. And if I’m still seeing the occasional rare case for the first time, and learning something new every day, that is something I did not know the week or the month or the year before. That means the next question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Could I have missed something?’
So the older you get the more the false confidence of youth dissipates and you start to realize how much you do not know. That is not to say I do not know what I am doing – I certainly believe I do – but it is truly astonishing, after twenty-five years in the job, to contemplate the breadth and depth of what there is to know, and what is yet to be discovered, about the brain. I fear we will never know all that there is to know about the brain and, in part, that is why studying neurology remains so exciting."
As a medical student Niall Tubridy fell in love with neurology. Figuring out how the brain and nervous system signal problems was a form of high stakes detective work and answers could be life-changing. Just One More Question is the story of Niall Tubridy's career in neurology. He shares the stories of encounters that are, by turn, poignant, dramatic and funny, such as ... The chef who goes for his usual morning walk and loses his memory for the next six hours, The painter who believes her left hand is her guardian angel, The eager young lover whose head 'explodes' every time he orgasms. Using simple and illuminating language Tubridy also explains well-known conditions like multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease and Parkinson's and and brings us into the examining room as he accompanies patients with these diagnoses on their challenging path. In addition, he reflects candidly on the reasons he, a doctor's son, went into medicine, how he has been tested, and what he has learned about people - and about himself - along the way.