For educated and intellectually curious adults who are without specialist or scientific training, it would be difficult for neurologists to exaggerate the value of articles in medical journals. I hear repeatedly from patients – and their families – with various neurological problems how helpful it is to read the medical literature. On the other hand, it would be easy for neurologists to misinterpret their motivation. It is incorrect to think that the patient’s search represents a single-minded inquiry just for more scientific knowledge – the facts – explaining the biological basis of a neurological disorder, and its treatment. To be sure, this information is no less important for patients than for their doctors, but the patient’s quest is also for a greater understanding of the meaning of illness and its impact on their quality of life. It is therefore essential that even primarily ‘medical’ journals encompass the broad scope of difficulties encountered by patients
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