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JAMA Revisited
June 27, 2017

Some Problems of Wartime Neurology

JAMA. 2017;317(24):2556. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.5057

In the total war in which we are now engaged, to quote Dr. Wilder Penfield,1 “one civilian population is brought face to face with another civilian population in a war of labor, of self denial and of wits.” In this situation academic abstraction must give place to pragmatic efforts toward the solution of present day tasks. What can neurology contribute? Speaking before the Medical Research Committee of the National Research Council at Ottawa, Dr. Penfield enumerated some of the problems which demand solution and which come within the province of the neurologist, the neurosurgeon and the psychiatrist. These include (1) methods of selection of military personnel, including intelligence tests, aptitude tests and personality studies, (2) the making of morale among men in service and among the families left behind, (3) prevention and relief of fatigue, (4) prevention and cure of psychoneuroses, (5) effects of blast on the nervous system, (6) nerve suture and nerve regeneration, (7) analeptic substances, (8) immersion foot and vascular occlusion, (9) prevention of adhesions about the brain and nerves, (10) treatment of cerebral and meningeal infections, (11) the treatment of craniofacial injuries, (12) the transportation and treatment of patients with spinal fractures and dislocations, (13) post-traumatic headache, (14) post-traumatic epilepsy, (15) post-traumatic circulatory instability, (16) pain in the lower part of the back, (17) treatment of the paralyzed bladder and (18) treatment of infections of the nervous system.

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