Hey, reader, can you spare a photo and a story?
I am working in earnest on the 2nd edition of my textbook entitled Medical Neurobiology (Oxford University Press, 2011). I have taught from this book to Pritzker medical students four times (2011-14). While teaching medical students is most directly relevant to a textbook that specifically targets medical students, I also learned so much from teaching undergraduates in University of Chicago’s Study Abroad program. Although I did not anticipate it at the time, learning to teach non-Biology majoring undergraduates in Paris set me up beautifully to teach the lay public. My dream of teaching neurobiology to the general public came true when thousands of people of all ages and from around the world took my Coursera MOOC on Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life. From each of these experiences, I honed my teaching of neurobiology. Now I am excited to put what I have learned into 2nd edition-reality.
Along with updates (e.g. head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy), additions (e.g. neural control of feeding, the brain-microbiome connection; adolescence and aging), reorganizations (putting the hypothalamus material into the homeostasis section) and some simplifications (neuroanatomy); I also want to update many of the illustrations. My scientific colleagues have been amazingly generous already in their willingness to share material. I am also hoping that you, my readers, can help me put faces and narratives into the quintessentially individual experience of neurological disease.
As an example, consider Bell’s palsy. I would like to show pictures of an individual with Bell’s palsy at rest, meaning with a neutral facial expression; this would allow the reader to see the absence of a nasolabial fold (at least if the person is over 30 or so years old). Additional pictures of the individual either deliberately making a facial expression or making one because of an emotional motivation would illustrate that a peripheral lesion such as Bell’s palsy impairs function regardless of context. This is in strong contrast to the effect of a central brain lesion.
I hope to put a personal face onto the following diseases:
- Bell’s palsy
- Focal dystonia
- Gigantism or acromegaly
- Hemiparalysis involving the arm and leg (often as a result of a cerebral stroke)
- Intranuclear ophthalmoplegia
- Myasthenia gravis
- Parkinsons disease
- Peripheral deformation due to Charcot-Marie-Tooth (e.g. hammer toes)
- Third nerve palsy
- Volitional facial paralysis (in ability to move one side of the mouth upon “command” with retained ability to move for emotional reasons; typically as a result of a stroke in motor cortex)
This list is not exhaustive. If you have a neurological condition that is not listed and you are willing to provide photographs and share your story, please let me know. If you know someone with an illustrative neurological condition, please pass this message on to that individual. Anyone who is willing and able to help should contact me in the comment section below. I will then get in touch with you by email.
Of course, some neurological conditions do not lend themselves to photographs but are best illustrated by video interviews. I am interested in making such videos and putting them up for all to watch and learn from. But this is a project for after July 1.
I want to thank all of you in advance for your help. I am excited to have the chance to partner with you to move towards a greater appreciation of the power of the nervous system.
Categories: Neurological disease or impairment