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It was just 25 years ago. At the time I was a young neurologist who had recently been appointed to a permanent position as assistant physician in the neurology unit in my town, and had visited for a short while the first Italian stroke unit which had been set up in Rome by Professor Fieschi. Although I had only a vague knowledge of the world of trials, I was interested in them and tried to read everything I could in stroke research.
Two coincidental things then happened (well, serendipity always plays a role in life, does it not?). Firstly, I read a chapter in a book on the need for a trial of carotid endarterectomy by Dr Charles Warlow from Oxford, which had the right mix of science and “rebellion” against traditional academic medicine to look very interesting to me. Secondly, a friend of mine moved from Perugia to Oxford University to work in the field of haematology. So I took the opportunity to write a letter to Dr Warlow, explaining my interest in stroke research and trials, and asking to spend a few months in his department. My friend gave the letter to him and he wrote back with a positive answer. So I started organising myself to move to Oxford in the late spring of 1984. I actually had no idea of what I would find there but my intention was to learn as much stroke neurology …