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Special Millennium Article
January 2000

Fiction, Reality, and Molecular Neurology

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Arch Neurol. 2000;57(1):63-64. doi:10.1001/archneur.57.1.63

What was considered fiction and myth in one era of human history has become mundane reality in another era. Our scientific predecessors unraveled the mysteries of the physical world by asking questions and seeking answers. This exercise led to new knowledge and, more importantly, to the creation of novelty by manipulating the laws of nature. Some examples are antibiotics, electricity, computers, and modes of transportation and communication. Another critical contribution of science is to arrest and reverse damage caused by wide dissemination of personally held misconceptions. Individuals with epilepsy were thought to be witches possessed by the devil, and, until recently, medical students were taught that the adult brain is incapable of neurogenesis. These fallacies may stem from the need to organize the laws of nature within the frame of current knowledge, thus limiting the advancement of knowledge. Furthermore, when knowledge is presented in the classroom as truth, erroneous convictions could restrain the inquisitive minds of the next generation.

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