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  1. Philip E M Smith1,
  2. Geraint N Fuller2
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2 Department of Neurology, Gloucester Royal Hospital, Gloucester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Philip E M Smith, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, CF14 4XW, UK; SmithPE{at}cf.ac.uk

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Neurology is primarily a diagnostic specialty—or nowadays given the range of available treatments we should say neurology is first and foremost a diagnostic specialty—as everything begins with the diagnosis. Either way, neurologists are interested in diagnoses and are more familiar with the gradations of diagnostic labels than are physicians in other medical specialties, using the steps from clinical syndrome to disease as an aid in our diagnostic formulations. A syndrome—from the Greek, syn meaning together, and drom meaning to run (as in hippodrome where horses (hippos) ran)—once described, ties together a constellation of features that are linked by more than chance. This is useful in clinical practice in providing a framework for management and is an important first step to understanding the underlying pathologies. Syndromes are not immutably fixed but evolve, reflecting discoveries in pathophysiology or genetics, or from careful clinical observation.

In this issue Stoyan Popkirov, Jeffrey Staab …

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