Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal
Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus,
Virginia Commonwealth University.
Houston Merritt practiced neurology in an era when high technology consisted
of keen acumen, an inquisitive mind, and a prodigious memory. Equipped with
little more than a rubber reflex hammer, several tuning forks, and a safety
pin, Merritt succeeded in establishing diagnoses by eliciting detailed histories
complemented with focused neurologic examinations.
In addition to being a consummate clinician, Merritt, writes Lewis Rowland,
was “a singular leader whose career set models for clinical investigation . . .
clinical practice, teaching, editing books and journals, administering medical
schools and departments. . . . ” With Socratic pedagogy,
he trained a generation of prominent neurologists who, in turn, have developed
a worldwide lattice of neurology programs. We are fortunate that one of them,
Rowland, a protégé and successor chairman of the Neurological
Institute at Columbia University, has perpetuated Merritt’s
Fermaglich J. Neurology. JAMA. 2005;294(16):2097-2098. doi:10.1001/jama.294.16.2097