Message from the Behavioral Neurology Fellowship Director
To paraphrase Oliver Sacks, we are all mistaken for a hat. Our specialty is often an optional coverage, removable at will, and perhaps unconventionally adorned in unscientific free text. What we do inspires tales and novels and prime time TV shows, but not always the endorsement of National Medical Societies, healthcare policy makers, insurers, and ICD-10 coding books. Many would prefer our diagnoses would stay masked in euphemisms or at least whispered so like cancer it can’t metastasize fear and panic.
Like 19th century novels of manners, the behavioral diagnoses assault pride and evoke prejudice. If not due to bald face lack of inclination, the lack of time, lack of money, and lack of skill constrain physician engagement. But there is climate change and the advances of genetics, functional imaging, computer assisted technologies, and basic science now allow for this most intellectual of medical disciplines its own face.
At Henry Ford Health System, the face of Behavioral Neurology is a multidisciplinary team of subspecialists, primary care physicians, administrative experts, and community resources. Every day our team confronts AD, FTD, ataxic, and Parkinsonian disorders in all their variations, conferences weekly with a specialized team for diagnosing and treating NPH, and monthly researches difficult and unusual cases for journal club.
Our ideas are supported by grants from NIH, Picker Institute, and private grants. Our creative ideas are supported internally by EMR, MEG, fMRI, specialized PET scanning, biostatisticians, and philanthropy and externally by collaborations with Wayne State University medical and basic science faculty. Families access Alzheimer’s Association social workers from their very first meeting in the same clinic as their physician. Students, residents, and fellows enrich our knowledge through teaching and mentoring. The hospital and clinic are places of wellness and the philosophy of the clinic is to be in the forefront of efforts to promote brain health, prevent dementia, and seek to integrate therapies for pre-clinical and MCI stages of dementia into all preventative health care interventions.
We are privileged to be the place where patients, families, and physicians throughout Michigan turn to diagnose the rare and the familiar and find treatment and support. We are multi-faceted and wear many hats; we fashion solutions. Join us. Wear our hat. It won’t be a mistake.