Sunday, 6 November 2011

The philosophy of a blog

A blog is a two-way street; if you don't make comments and enter into a dialogue with the blogger and other readers it will be less valuable or at worst it will die. 

Please feel free to ask as many questions as you want and please make suggestions; requests are welcome.

I am new to using a blog as a teaching forum so any feedback would be very helpful. Do you want more, or less posts? Are the post too superficial or too detailed? Do you like the idea of three levels? etc.


  1. Professor Giovannoni

    Thank you very much for starting this blog. I am a fourth year medical student and have found the sections on the neurological examination very helpful. Would it be possible to do them in a systematic way? Will you do the complete neurological examination?

  2. Re: "Would it be possible to do them in a systematic way? Will you do the complete neurological examination?"

    Thank you for the complement; it means a lot to me.

    This blog is not meant to replace traditional teaching (theoretical and/or clinical). I started the blog to address the issue of neurophobia among medical students (see my previous post and the problem we have with our modern curriculum in which we get so little time to teach medical students neurology. By registering with this blog, you will receive one or two emails a week. I am hoping that asynchronous learning via this route will keep neurology fresh in your mind, supplement your current timetable and make you less fearful when you see a patent with a neurological problem.

    As I also teach post-graduate students (neurology specialist registrars) I decided to include more advanced knowledge on the blog (levels 2 and 3); this makes the cases more interesting and hopefully will stimulate you to read more and develop a deeper understanding of neurology and neuroscience in general.

    My topics are chosen at random and are based on what patients I see, in clinic and/or on the wards, in a particular week. At some stage all areas of the nervous system will be covered. I will then include an index as an additional blog page to make the postings systematic, particularly in relation to the examination.

    I would recommend you familiarise yourself with the principles that this blog is based on ( Learning is not a passive process; unless you are an active learner you will not benefit from this blog.

    Finally, as a teacher I try to convert everybody to the cause of neurology; every student of mine is a potential neurologist. Every reader of this blog is a potential neurologist. One of the reasons I became a neurologist was because of an inspirational teacher (Dr Charles Kaplan, one of my heroes); if I could do the same I will have repaid my debt of gratitude to him.

  3. I like this blog. Im also a 4th year student and find that it keeps the neurology that I need fresh for me and introduces me to more advanced and interesting concepts.

    I cant think how you'd improve it; the videos are excellent, appropriate and the prose content is detailed enough.

    I do hope it doesn't die.

  4. Again, another 4th year student.

    I'd also like to say thank you for starting this. I take on board what you've said about it not being a replacement for core teaching but a bit extra for those who want to go further. The ranking system is useful as I have to say that some of this goes completely over my head.

    I think the depth is good and I'd rather have fewer detailed posts than multiple shorter ones. I personally find the case scenarios particularly interesting (as they prompt logical thinking about mechanisms, diagnosis etc.)

  5. Prof. Giovannoni,

    Just as a suggestion on your next topic for Level 1/2: internuclear ophthalmoplegias?

    Would be great,

  6. The neurological exam can be divided into seven areas. The outline below should be memorized. Having immediate recall of this outline allows the examiner to quickly proceed through the exam without omitting any sections. The exam should be performed in an organized, step-wise manner.

  7. Low of all i would same to impart you for the great and consultatory entry. I somebody to admit that I get never heard virtually this entropy I hold noticed many new facts for me.

    Ross Finesmith MD

  8. Prof Giovannoni,

    Thanks for doing this blog. I just would like to say that you are one of the person who had inspired my interest in neurology, in 2nd year when you had tutored my B&B PBLs,i watched the movie you suggested (one flew over the cuckoo's nest) and bought the book, the man who mistook his wife for a hat, by Oliver Sacks. And since then have accumulated almost all of Oliver Sacks book.

    Its a shame that we only get one week of neurology and one week of neurosurgery at the hospital for 4th year.

    This blog has made me more interested in neuro than i was before. Some of the topics might be way over our core curriculum, but it's still interesting to learn more than just the curriculum.