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The wrangle of seventy-two sects, establish excuse for all
When truth, they saw not, the door of feeble they beat.
Hafez-Shirazi (1325/1326 to 1389/1390 AD), Prominent Iranian poet
The land of Iran (flag, figure 1) is a historical region, compromising the area from West to Middle Asia. It reaches to the Caspian Sea in the north and to the Persian Gulf in the south (figure 2). Iran's population is more than 75 million. It has 31 provinces, and there are specialised and subspecialised health centres in the main cities of each province. These are tertiary level hospitals that are responsible for the care of complex cases and serve as referral centres for smaller provincial units. We work in Tabriz, a major industrial city of around two million people in the northwest of Iran (figure 3) with a rich historical heritage dating back more than 2500 years (figure 4). Some authorities have suggested that the biblical Garden of Eden was located in or near to Tabriz.
Iran was a land of pioneers in medicine during the mediaeval period. Rhazes (865–925 AD) (figure 5) and Avicenna (980–1037 AD) (figure 6), two great physicians in the history of medicine, contributed extensively to the evolution of medical science and neuroscience between the 9th and 11th centuries. Rhazes contributed to the early definitions of several neurological diseases and to the description of the anatomy of cranial and spinal nerves. He combined his neuroanatomical knowledge with clinical insights, to localise neurological complaints, including the recognition that the pupils constrict when stimulated by bright light.1
Neurological education in Iran is based on a residency programme education system. After 4 years …
Correction notice This paper has been corrected since it was published Online First. 900 000 has been corrected to 90 000 in the line 'there is currently one neurologist per 900 000 Iranian citizens'.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Colin Mumford, associate editor of Practical Neurology, Edinburgh, UK.