Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole: Extraordinary Journeys into the Human Brain Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
What is it like to try to heal the body when the mind is under attack? In this gripping and illuminating audiobook, Dr Allan Ropper reveals the extraordinary stories behind some of the life-altering afflictions that he and his staff are confronted with at the Neurology Unit of Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital.Neurologists diagnose and treat serious illnesses of the brain by combining the hard science of medical knowledge with the art of intuitive reasoning.
The unique challenge they face is that their primary sources of information - the patients' brains - are quite often altered, sometimes bizarrely, as a result of disease. Like Alice in Wonderland, Dr Ropper inhabits a place where absurdities abound: a sportsman who starts spouting gibberish; an undergraduate who suddenly becomes psychotic; a salesman who drives around and around a roundabout, unable to get off; a child molester who, after falling on the ice, is left with a brain that is very much dead inside a body that is very much alive; a figure skater whose body has become a ticking time-bomb; a mother who has to decide whether a life locked inside her own head is worth living.
How does one begin to treat such cases, to counsel people whose lives may be changed forever? How does one train the next generation of clinicians to deal with the moral and medical aspects of brain disease? Dr Ropper answers these questions by taking the listener into a world where lives and minds hang in the balance.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 6 minutes|
|Author||Dr. Allan Ropper|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||22 March 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 23,835 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
291 in Biological Sciences (Audible Books & Originals)
3,091 in Science, Nature & Maths
26,828 in Textbooks & Study Guides
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Top reviews from Australia
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What an amazing book
Thoughtful, challenging, inspiring
All doctors should read this
Top reviews from other countries
It is well written, thanks probably to the input of Burrell, lucid and effectively organised. The content is horrific. It concerns those who in most cases suffering from terminal or close to terminal diseases: cancer, Motor Neurone Syndrome, Parkinsons and other related conditions are additionally burdened with the most alarming neurological conditions: convulsions, hallucinations, major speech impediments and far more. The progress of the book and the accounts of bizarre and terrifying symptoms is relentless.
Certainly the book gives a most authentic account of a neurologist's work and those patients unfortunate enough to need to come under the care of one. I found the note of egocentricity, which persists throughout, an irritant, and I don't understand why a film star should receive what seems to be disproportionate attention. It is difficult to fault the book in other ways but it is most certainly not for the squeamish.
Ropper is honest about outcomes, which are sometimes unwelcome. But as a physician his priority is the well-being of his patients, which involves him in accompanying them through the dark closing years, months and days of their life. Brilliantly he tells a wonderful tale of professional expertise and compassion in the treatment of people whose brains have in some way 'gone wrong'. I have not been disappointed.
It is a series of clinical accounts by Boston neurologist Dr Allan Ropper over his many years working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Each chapter deals with a separate series of cases with a common theme. He also talks about his motivations in medicine and his relationship with colleagues.
He is clearly a very reflective practitioner who has learnt from his patients over the years. He is inquisitive and wants to look below the surface (down the rabbit hole), wants to constantly develop his learning and comes over as very compassionate. He also talks quite frankly about cases he did not get right and analysed why that was, making assumptions, being fixed on a diagnosis and also about errors he has found in others such as radiology.
He talks about very unusual presentations of neurological problems and odd presentations. The title comes from wanting to go down the diagnostic rabbit hole to try to get the patient out. There are cases discussed about confusion, malingering and functional problems, and motor neurone disease. In fact two patients are highlighted, one who decides that this is no life to carry on with and the description of her demise is quite uncomfortable. The other takes life by the horns and carries on in spite of considerable adversity, although admittedly helped by their very supportive wife and insurance company (great if you have the cover). Parkinson’s Disease is also studied and in particular the relationship with celebrity Michael J. Fox, who was one of his patients.
An interesting discussion about brain death and the philosophy behind that and the difficult position it puts neurologists in. The case discussed in detail was a known local paedophile and how this may affect your decision about preserving life (or not). Carrying a donor card and does this ultimately make you a good guy in death? You get the feeling he rather thinks it does – or at least not all bad – perhaps no one is all bad? If you have forgotten your basic neurology this will remind you about what functions come from the different areas of the brain.
A slightly unusual slant is the regular references to members of his team and the work colleagues. The young residents, developing their skills and trying to nurture them and develop their critical thinking. He also talks about work colleagues and their personalities, how they interact with him and patients. Although he has great respect for them, you certainly get the feeling there are some aspects he would like to change.
Although based in an American hospital and their peculiar admitting rights, residents etc, the basic messages apply to the UK just as much. This is a thoughtful doctor who genuinely wants to understand his patient’s disease and problems as people. He also wants to understand his colleagues and himself.