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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Teaching brain pathology by hand

joseph%20and%20student85.bmpThe advent of magnetic resonance imaging means neurologists in training no longer spend hours dissecting spinal cords and brains, psychiatrist Dr. Elissa Ely writes in today's New York Times. And she thinks that will be a loss.

"From a distance, brain autopsies seem an afterthought on life. Insurance does not cover them. They serve no lucrative purpose, so hospitals have a financial disincentive to do them," she writes. "As a result, the field of neuropathology is shrinking and its atrophy may diminish the entire field of neurology."

Dr. Jeffrey T. Joseph (at right in bottom photo with first-year resident Dr. Scott Wenson) has conducted a weekly neuropathology seminar at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for 12 years, but he's leaving in the fall for the University of Calgary in Alberta, the story says.

"It's part diagnosis, part entertainment," he says about the seminars in the story. "I like to make them look. The brain is like a geode -- you don't know what's inside."

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 12:53 PM
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