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Summary

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.

©2015 Dr. Allan Ropper (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole

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fascinating

not a novel, but stories from a neurologist life. diagnosing all types of illness that effect our brain behaviour. had to be in the right frame of mind to listen. very interesting.

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Fascinating and complex all in one

This book covers a huge range of neurological problems, their diagnosis, symptoms and treatments using different case studies. Thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt so much.

2 people found this helpful

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Mysteries of the Mind

This is an excellent book and very well read by Paul Boehmer. You can't help thinking that its actually the Doctor who wrote the book who is doing the reading, There are several books available on this subject and I'm glad I chose this one. Its an easy listen without being in anyway patronising to the listener. Though I would have appreciated one chapter which gave a sort of 101 lecture on how neurologists see their subject. They seem to inhabit the boundary area between normal medicine and psychiatry. And its a strange and slightly disturbing world indeed. The author who is a leading American neurologist, discusses the case histories of various patients, giving a brief sketch of who they are and what they do in normal life. So the whole discourse is grounded in an easily understood reality, despite the strange afflictions that his patients suffer from. And there is indeed a lot of suffering here. But the author is clearly a sympathetic man who sees his job as helping people to cope with their situation, especially since there is often no practical cure. The only patient who's true identity is revealed is the actor Michael J Fox who happened to be referred to Dr. Ropper.

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in the genre of medical memoir

An easy listen. Very interesting cases (you feel like you get to meet the patients and get to know some of them. Also excellent story telling.