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What got me into neurology (and did it work out?)
  1. Alastair Compston
  1. Correspondence to Professor A Compston, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, UK; alastair.compston{at}

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For someone who wanted to be a journalist, opting for a little science, the art of medicine and interacting with people seemed a reasonable alternative and—growing up in a medical family—met with much more domestic approval. At the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London (now a building site being laid out as a patchwork of garden allotments), I was taught how to learn and find things out for myself. Early in the preclinical course, the professor of anatomy, Eldred Walls, showed that the complexities of the nervous system are in fact logical; a subject that initially seemed rather inaccessible was now understandable in fairly simple organisational terms. I decided to become a neurologist.

I wanted to work at Queen Square but realised that post-registration experience was first necessary. As a senior house officer at the Wessex Neurological Centre in Southampton, I worked for two marvellous neurosurgeons, each an enthusiastic and theatrical …

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