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The Health and Future of Academic Neurology
  1. Alastair Compston
  1. University of Cambridge Neurology unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge, UK; Email: dascompston{at}


Nobody much cared when the Dodo (didus ineptus) disappeared in 1681; after all, it wasn’t much of a bird, being unable to fly despite having wings. Perhaps the Dodo is a poor metaphor for academic neurology: at a pinch, most professors can elicit the ankle jerks; and neurology boasts some awesomely talented investigators working internationally and producing research of lasting significance across a range of neuroscience disciplines. But that said, all is not well – in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Academic – adjective not noun – encapsulates the ethic of exploring problems identified by clinical analysis, intellectually and experimentally, and re-cycling the evidence so as better to inform clinical practice. Thus defined, every neurologist is academic and, far from representing the transiently regrettable amputation of one redundant branch, any threat to academic neurology endangers the entire species homo neurologiensis.

Despite real dividends from the exponential increase in neuroscience activity over the last

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