[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 5, 1987

Matters Gray and White: A Neurologist, His Patients, and the Mysteries of the Brain

JAMA. 1987;257(21):2981. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390210129046

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


John Ferrier, the subject of this book, is a young, well-trained neurologist. The name is a pseudonym, lifted immodestly, as it is explained, from the great John Hughlings Jackson and his contemporary Sir David Ferrier. Both were famous British pioneers in neurology. The current Dr Ferrier is busily and thoughtfully following in their foot-steps, after residencies and research fellowships at Oxford, Vancouver, Denver, Cornell, and Columbia. He finally returns home to take up a private practice of neurology in a medium-sized Rocky Mountain city.

The author, a writer and friend of Ferrier's since boyhood, obtains his permission to follow him in his daily rounds, "like a harried man Friday," he writes. He had envied the job that afforded "the daily luxury of abandoning the suffocating self-absorption of a writer" in favor of direct, intimate, and undivided attention to the lives and concerns of others. But it was not only the