It is with great humility that we present The Hospital Neurology Book to the medical community. Traditionally, textbooks of medicine served the double purposes of being comprehensive repositories of information as well as pedagogical tools. We took into account the changing way physicians access information relevant to their practice. Most of our colleagues access detailed information online through review articles and medical sites. We concentrated on presenting hospital neurology in a digestible way, concentrating on practical information and approach, while providing references to more detailed sources of information. We chose the case-based approach, in line with the most recent research regarding the way we assimilate information. We avoided concentrating on rare diseases, however interesting or elegant their mechanism may be, and only explored disease mechanisms when we thought it would help with the understanding of the disease and its management. In short, we aimed the book to be a practical and pedagogical tool for the “gardener” rather than the “botanist” to paraphrase one of the greats.
We also took into account recent changes in the practice of neurology. Although classical neurologists were clinical neuropathologists who studied diseases according to the localization and category of a disease, the modern practice of neurology is symptoms based, relies heavily on internal medicine, and largely overlaps with it. We incorporated a minimum syllabus of internal medicine required for the practice of hospital neurology in the book and tried to organize the book around common presentations that a hospital neurologist or a hospitalist with neurology patients may encounter.
The editors first met each other on the sidelines of an educational conference where one was invited as an established chairman and educator, and the other as what was immodestly referred to as “a star of the future.” During that meeting, we discussed the changing nature of the practice of neurology, the way we learn neurology, and how we have not kept up with these changes in the educational settings. In time, we decided to have the courage of our conviction and put together a work that attempts to fill this gap. The enthusiasm with which the project was embraced by the publishers and contributors reassured us from the outset about the value of this project.
The book was originally intended for practicing general neurologists, neurohospitalists, and hospitalists. However, one of the editors (AS) has already started using some of the chapters in teaching medical students, residents, and fellows at Yale School of Medicine, and the overwhelming positive feedback suggests that this is an enthusiastic audience we did not anticipate in our original planning. AS has been presenting the cases and the questions from the chapters (eg, Dementia) as a way of structuring student teaching. The chapters are designed to be self-contained; however, to minimize duplication, we cross-reference information where it is appropriate. These chapters may be read in any particular order. We anticipate that hospitalists can skip the internal medicine-based chapters but we highly recommend these to the neurohospitalists and general neurologists.
Our thanks, first and foremost, goes to the many contributors who shared their knowledge to this book, Linda Turner who provided superb organizational assistance, and Alyssa Fried and Andrew Moyer from McGraw-Hill. AS would like to thank his sweethearts Sayena, Ava, and Anahita without whom life is meaningless, as well as his first and greatest teachers his parents Ali and Sarah. I am also grateful to the Yale Department of Neurology for having the capacity to provide the freedom to pursue educational projects. JB would like to thank his wife Rhonda for her unrelenting patience and contagious sense of humor.
José Biller, MD, FACP, FAAN, FANA, FAHA