Neurology at the Movies

There is an interesting, and rather open ended (making it even more interesting) review of non-documentary films that feature neurological illness here. The review is co-authored by Andrew Larner who writes an engaging and entertaining monthly column in the journal Advances in Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation (ACNR) about the relationship between neurology and the humanities, especially history and literature.

They start off with seizure which has been the object of my research affection lately, lamenting the possible influence of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in helping to push electroconvulsive therapy into the closet of disrepute. Then Dostoyevsky, who had epilepsy, and his characters with epilepsy in film version of The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov.

The list goes on and on, and I suspect they got rather weary along the way, or how else to explain the unwarranted downbeat conclusion: “Should neurologists watch films? What has cinema ever done for neurology?…the majority of filmic portrayals of neurological disease are simply dishonest. Maybe they should carry a health warning.”

Well, that would be interesting, wouldn’t it? “The movie you are about to see may pose certain health risks!”


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