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September 22, 1951


JAMA. 1951;147(4):289-293. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670210001001

In the family of medical specialties, clinical neurology has often been regarded as a sibling whose duty is to play an ancillary role to its nearest kin, psychiatry, internal medicine and neurosurgery. It has been facetiously called a fading spinster living in a back bedroom and walking with a soft and gingerly tread. Compared with the lusty, brilliant and occasionally fustian activities of modern psychiatry, contrasted with the brisk, youthful and productive efficiency of neurosurgery and with the dramatic urgencies of internal medicine, the demeanor of clinical neurology, until in very recent years, has bordered on the lustreless.

This is reflected in the impressions entertained about neurology by the public. To many a man-on-the-street, be he well-informed about medicine or otherwise, the specialty of neurology is not clearly defined or even known to exist as such. Very few neurologists have escaped being confronted by this most disconcerting question, "If you