Clinical Neuroscience

[Neurology! Adieau? (Part 2)]

SZIRMAI Imre

MAY 30, 2010

Clinical Neuroscience - 2010;63(05-06)

[Teaching of neurologists is indisposed worldwide. University tutors are engaged in teaching, research and patient-care. This triple challenge is very demanding, and results in permanent insecurity of University employees. To compensate for the insufficient clinical training, some institutes in the USA employ academic staff members exclusively for teaching. The formation of new subspecialties hinders the education and training of general neurologists. At the present four generations of medical doctors are working together in the hospitals. The two older generations educate the younger neurologists who have been brought up in the world of limitless network of sterile information. Therefore their manual skills at the bedside and knowledge regarding emergency treatment are deficient. Demographics of medical doctors changed drastically. Twice as many women are working in neurology and psychiatry than men. Integrity of neurology is threatened by: 1. Separation of the cerebrovascular diseases from general neurology. Development of "stroke units" was facilitated by the better reimbursement for treatment and the interest of the pharmaceutical companies. The healthcare politics assisted to split the neurology into two parts. The independent status of “stroke departments” will reduce the rest of clinical neurology to outpatient service. 2. The main argumentation to segregate the rare neurological diseases was that their research will provide benefit for the diseases with high prevalence. This argumentation can rather be considered territorial imperative. The separation of rare diseases interferes with the teaching of differential diagnostics during neurological training. The traditional pragmatic neurology can not be retrieved. The faculty of neurology could retain its integrity because of the improvement of diagnostic methods and the more and more effective drugs. Nevertheless, even the progression of neurological sciences induces dissociation of clinical neurology. Neurology shall suffer fragmentation if the professional authorities fail to control the separation of subspecialties, if teaching of future neurologists, including practical knowledge and skills of diagnostic decision making, is not supported.]

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[The neurological practice suffered considerable changes during the last twenty years. The recent therapeutic methods and the acceptance of the ideology of evidence based medicine, which is based on confidence in statistics, changed the reasoning of the neurologists. Therapy protocols intrude into the field of individual medicine, and doctors accept treatment schemes to alleviate responsibility of their decisions. In contrast with this, recent achievements in pharmacogenetics emphasize the importance of individual drug therapies. The protocol of intravenous cerebral thrombolysis does not require defining the origin of cerebral ischaemia in the acute stage, therefore, this procedure can be regarded as human experiment. According to the strict protocol thrombolysis might be indicated only in 1-8% of patients with cerebral ischaemia. According to the Cohrane database more trials are needed to clarify which patients are most likely to benefit from treatment. Because of the change in therapeutic principles transient ischaemic attack has been newly defined as “acute neurovascular syndrome”. Multiplication of neurological subspecialties has been facilitated by the development of diagnostic tools and the discovery of effective new drugs. The specialization led to narrowing of interest and competency of clinicians. Several new neurological scientific societies were founded for the representation of specific disorders. In Hungary, between 1993 and 2000 nine scientific societies were grounded within the field of clinical neurology. These societies should be thankful to the pharmaceutical industries for their existence. In some European countries in 2007 only three neurological subspecialties were accepted, which are neurophysiology, neuro-rehabilitation and childneurology. Neuro-radiology is in the hands of general radiologists, the specialization is not granted for neurologists. Because of the subspecialization the general professionalism of neurologists has diminished. Among young neurologists the propedeutic skills suffered most seriously. Subspecialisation of teachers also interferes with the practice oriented teaching of medical students and residents.]

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