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Medicine 2, Alternative Medicine 1: a commentary on Dr Stern's paper
  1. Jon Stone,
  2. Alan Carson
  1. Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jon Stone, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Crewe Rd, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK; jon.stone{at}ed.ac.uk

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Gerald Stern's case reminds us how neurologists, and in fact doctors in general, may have lost their way in certain aspects of their job. Each consultant, locked in their organ specialty, turned the patient upside down looking for a cause for her symptoms but left her without a diagnosis. ‘Nothing wrong with that!’ you cry, as a card-carrying ‘uncertainty tolerating’ neurologist, and we would agree in some respects.

But the fact that the patient had a range of symptoms that responded dramatically to a nameless white powder (which we assume was inactive) means either her condition resolved coincidentally or perhaps more plausibly was ‘functional’. That she …

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