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We are delighted that Practical Neurology is now co-published by BMJ Publications and the Association of British Neurologists (ABN). Some readers might be surprised that this is news, given the ABN's strong existing links with Practical Neurology: ABN members receive Practical Neurology for free and are active authors and reviewers. Indeed, the links go back to the journal's very inception.
Practical Neurology was founded by Charles Warlow (ABN President 2001–2003). He named it after and in homage to, the book by Bryan Matthews (ABN President 1982)1 that set the standards of practicality and clarity, which we would wish all to emulate. The 1964 JNNP review of Practical Neurology (the book) summarised it thus: “Dr Matthews … knows very well which are the problems of practical importance. His presentation is quite brilliant and by the constant effervescence of a particularly variety of humour he has produced a ‘best-seller’”.2 Our new publishing arrangement thus cements a longstanding relationship. But our mission remains the same: to provide up-to-date, clear and practical articles to help clinical neurologists, in the UK and across to globe.
We publish the ABN guidelines on the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). The previous ABN MS treatment guidelines were widely adopted, reflecting their simple, practical and clear advice. However, there are now so many more drugs to treat MS (a statement that would have astonished Professor Bryan Matthews) that the ABN MS Section, led by Neil Scolding, has integrated the available evidence into a free-to-download practical guideline (see page 273).
What might the original ‘Practical Neurologist’ have made of other contributions in this edition? Ralph Gregory's revisiting of many early and forgotten observations in ‘Parkinson's disease and the skin’ (see page 246), would have struck a chord with Professor Matthews. But so much else has changed. Two of our other reviews, on the acute management of spinal injury by Nicholas Theodore's team (see page 266) and clinic-radiological approach to diagnosis of cortical lesions on MRI by Dimitri Renard et al (see page 257) each depend on an imaging modality beyond imagination in 1963. Jeannette Hofmeijer et al consider the management of intracerebral haemorrhage in patients on anticoagulants (see page 250)—again highly dependent upon easy access to imaging as well as the principles of evidence-based medicine.
Professor Matthews would doubtless have been struck by how many articles focus on treatable conditions and treatments. This includes treatments for rare diseases: spinal xanthomatosis by Pam Shaw and her group (see page 280), resistant bulbar sarcoidosis described by Niraj Shenoy et al (see page 289), Lyme disease presenting as multiple strokes discussed by Sui Li et al (see page 284) and Frank Ward et al's patient with an acute cerebellar syndrome triggered by metronidazole (see page 298). Sometimes treatments themselves can mask the diagnosis, as in Carlos Kamiya-Matsuoka et al's case of gliomatosis cerebri (see page 309). Identifying mimics is as important as ever, as Rebecca Broad's team introduces us to facial onset sensory motor neuronopathy syndrome (see page 293), Kiran Thakur et al describe AIDS as a cause of longitudinally-extensive spinal cord lesion (see page 312) and Vincenzo Levi et al present an extraordinary scan image in a patient with parkinsonism (see page 300).
On the basis of a recent UK national audit of maternal deaths, John Paul Leach makes a call to arms to improve the care of women with neurological disorders during pregnancy (see page 244). We also have a case-based review of the functional neuroanatomy of hearing, written by Thomas Cope, one of the new ABN/Patrick Berthoud Clinical Research Training Fellows (see page 302), and a broad-ranging review on musician's dystonia from Jon Sussman (see page 317).
You can read Neurological Book Club's discussion on ‘Thinking fast and slow’, finding out how their gut reaction shaped up against reasoned argument on (see page 327), and A fo Ben displays more gems for us (see page 328).
Finally, we have Poul Joensen's letter from the Faroe Islands: a very different place with a very different neurology service (see page 323). However, these differences are as nothing compared to those achieved since the original Practical Neurology,1 fortunately for present day practical neurologists, and especially, for our patients.⇓