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When the air hits your brain
  1. Tom Hughes,
  2. Katharine Harding
  1. Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr T Hughes, Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK; tom.hughes2{at}

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by Frank Vertosick Jr. 2008. Publisher: WW Norton: New York

Books written by neurosurgeons are popular. Frank Vertosick, an American neurosurgeon, originally published this book in 1996. He subsequently developed Parkinson's disease and stopped operating in 2002. The postscript particularly captures the times and goal of the book, if not the mood. He describes how many of the techniques he used have been superseded as a consequence of medical advances. However, When the Air Hits Your Brain (figure 1) is not really about technology, or the medicine, or the surgery, or our times, but about the human aspect of disease, “the human dimension of those who suffer from it, and the human dimension of those neophytes, like me, who learn to treat it”. After reading this book, it is difficult not to conclude that he knows as much as any of us about the nature of …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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