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Clinical Neuromythology: And Other Arguments and Essays, Pertinent and Impertinent, Updated 2nd Edition



Clinical Neuromythology: And Other Arguments and Essays, Pertinent and Impertinent, Updated 2nd Edition

William Landau

ISBN: 978-0-879-93476-7 November 2001 Wiley-Blackwell 632 Pages

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In the second edition of this unique and hugely popular title, William Landau extends his provocative rhetorical critique of the language, logic and epistemology behind contemporary neurology, and by extension, the wider medical profession. Maintaining a razor sharp wit and an emphasis on rigour and clarity over 105 separate editorials, essays and letters, Dr. Landau continues to illustrate the shaky logic, obfuscatory language and mythology which pervades much contemporary "wisdom" about medical practice and discourse. He has produced a volume which advocates a more logical, inquisitive approach which would benefit all students, house officers and fellows in neurology, yet could also aid any medical student or professional keen to understand and challenge popular conventions in thinking and writing about modern medicine.

Following the success of the first edition, new material has been added: a new section concerns pain and pain management, addressing the confusion of temperomandibular pain and the efficacy and risk of intraspinal steroid treatment. Discussion of the controversy surrounding treatment for parkinsonism includes the failure of embryonic brain transplantation and the success of electrical brain stimulation. The slippery controversies regarding dietary fat, the obesity epidemic, cholesterol, stroke risk and treatment are also described.


Robert B. Daroff.




Landau WM. Clinical Neuromythology I: The Marcus Gunn phenomenon: Loose canon of neuro-opthalmology.

Neurology 38:1141-1142, 1988.

Landau WM. Reply to letters to the editor: Clinical neuromythology I: The Marcus Gunn phenomenon: Loose canon of neuro-opthalmology: Swinging flashlight test. Neurology 39:154-156, 1989.

Burde RM, Landau, WM. Clinical neuromythology XII: Shooting backward with Marcus Gunn: A circular exercise in paralogic. Neurology 44:2422, 1994.

Burde RM, Landau WM. Reply to letter to the editor: Marcus Gunn pupil. Neurology 44:2422, 1994.



Phillips CG, Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology VIII: Upper and lower motor neuron: The little old synecdoche that works. Neurology 40: 884-886, 1990.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Is hyporeflexia a lower motor neuron sign? Neurology 44:2416-2417, 1994.

Landau, WM. Letter to the editor: Denervation in paraplegia. Neurology 42:2306, 1992.

Landau, WM. Letter to the editor: Neuroanatomy of the pyramidal decussation. J. Neurosurg 65:884, 1986.

Landau, WM. Letter to the editor: Cruciate paralysis. J. Neurosurg 19:676, 1986.

Landau, WM. Letter to the editor: Cruciate paralysis. J. Neurosurg 77:329, 1992.

Landau, WM. Discussion of Van Der Meulen J, Denny-Brown DE, Gliman S. Patterns of cortical ablations leading to dystonic postures. Trans Am Neurol Assoc 89:117-121, 1964.



Landau, WM. Babinski's Reflex, Sign of. In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Elsevier Science B.V. London, 1999.

Landau, WM. Commentary: The useful enterprise of scratching baby feet. J. Child Neurol 7:314, 1992.



Landau, WM. Spasticity: The fable of a neurological demon and the emperor's new therapy. Arch Neurol 31:217-219, 1974.

Landau WM. Reply to letter to the editor: Dysfunction from defacilitation. Arch Neurol 32:421-422, 1974.

Landau, WM. Spasticity: What is it? What is it not? In: Feldman RG, Young RR, Koella WP eds. Spasticity: Disordered Motor Control: Chicago, Symposia Specialists, Yearbook Medical Publishers, pp 17-24, 1980.

Landau, WM. Clinical neuromythology II: Parables of palsy pills and PT pedagogy: A spastic dialectic. Neurology 38:1496-1499, 1988.

Landau, WM, Feldman RG. Letter to the editor: Baclofen for spasticity. Neurology 42: 2056, 1992.

Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology XIV: There you go again: The steadfast fad of fixing spasticity. Neurology 45:2295-2296, 1995.

Landau WM. Muscle tone: Hypertonus, spasticity, rigidity. In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Elsevier Science B.V., London, 1999.



Landau WM, Hunt CC. Dorsal rhizotomy, a treatment of unproven efficacy. J Child Neurol 5:174-178, 1990.

Landau WM. Correspondence: Selective posterior rhizotomy: Further comments. J Child Neurol 6:173-180, 1991.

Landau WM, Hunt CC. Correspondence: Dorsal rhizotomy. J Child Neurol 6:277-278, 1991.

Landau WM, Hunt CC. Letter to the editor: Surgical management of spastic diplegia. N Engl J Med 327:566-567, 1992.

McLaughlin JF, Bjornson KF, Astley SJ, Graubert C, Hays RM, Roberts TS, Price R, Temkin N. Selective dorsal rhizotomy: Efficacy and safety in an investigator masked randomized clinical trial, Dev Med Child Neurol 40.220-232, 1998.

Bodensteiner JB, Rich KM, Landau WM. Editorial: Early Infantile surgery for birth-related brachial plexus injuries: Justification requires a prospective controlled study. Arch Neurol J Child Neurol 9:109-110, 1994.



Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology IX: Pyramid sale in a bucket shop: DATATOP bottoms out. Neurology 40:1337-1339, 1990.

Landau WM. Special correspondence: DATATOP and clinical neuromythology IX, Neurology 41:771-777, 1991.

Daroff RB. Correspondence to the editor: Neuromythology IX and DATATOP. Neurology 41:1703-1704, 1991.

Fahn S, Landau WM. Is there a role for MAO-B-inhibitiors? In: Parkinson's Disease: Controversial Issues in Therapy. Second International Congress of Movement Disorders 38-43, 1992.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Selegiline. Neurology 43:2728, 1993.

Olanow CW, Calne D, Does selegiline monotherapy in Parkinson's disease act by symptomatic or protective mechanisms? Neurology 42:(suppl 4) 13-26, 1991.

Ward CD. Does selegiline delay progression of Parkinson's disease? A critical re-evaluation of the DATATOP study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiat 57:217-220, 1994.

Olanow CW, Hauser RA, Gauger L, Malapira T, Kollwer W, Perlmutter JS, Hubble J, Bushenbark K, Lilienfeld D, Esterlitz J. The effect of deprenyl and levodopa on the progression of Parkinson's disease. Ann Neurol 38:771-777, 1995.

Parkinson Study Group. Impact of deprenyl and tocopherol treatment on Parkinson's disease: DATATOP subjects not requiring levodopa. Ann Neurol 39:29-36, 1996.

Parkinson Study Group. Impact of deprenyl and tocopherol treatment on Parkinson's disease in DATATOP subjects requiring levodopa. Ann Neurol 39:37-45, 1996.

Koller WC. Neuroprotective therapy for Parkinson's Disease. Exp. Neurol 144:24-28, 1997.

Klawans HL. Chekhov's Lie. New York, Demos Vermande, 1997, pp 101-102; 165-167; 211; 217-218.

Parkinson Study Group. DATATOP: A Decade of Inquiry. Ann Neurol 44:S160-S166, 1998.



Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Mucking around with Peter Pan. Ann Neurol 24:464, 1988.

Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology VII: Artificial intelligence: The brain transplant cure for parkinsonism. Neurology 40:733-740, 1990 177.

Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology X: Faithful fashion: Survival status of the brain transplant cure for parkinsonism. Neurology 43:644-649, 1993.

Landau WM. Special correspondence: Tissue transplants for PD. Neurology 44:575-577, 1994.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor addendum: More on tissue transplantation in PD. Neurology 44:992, 1994.

Folkerth RD, Durso R. Survival and proliferation of nonneural tissues, with obstruction of cerebral ventricles, in a parkinsonian patient treated with fetal allografts (Abstract). Neurology 46:1219-1225, 1996.

Fischbach GD, McKhann GM. Editorial: Cell Therapy for Parkinson's Disease. N Eng J Med 344(10):763-765, 2001.

Perlmutter JS, Landau WM. Commentary: The Deep Brain Stimulation: The Sad Story, by Bejani BP et al. Lancet Neurology Network 1:1-7, 2000.



Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology III: Ataxic hemiparesis: Special deluxe stroke or standard brand? Neurology 38:1799-1801, 1988.

Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology V: Ataxic hindbrain thinking: The clumsy cerebellum syndrome. Neurology 39:315-323,1989.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Ataxic hemiparesis. Movement Disorders 9:584,1994.

Landau WM. Discussion of Cooper, IS: A cerebellar mechanism in resting tremor. Trans Amer Neurol Assoc 91:64-65, 1966.

Landau WM. Correspondence: Lack of physiologic understanding of the basis of surgical treatment of parkinsonism. N Engl J Med 280:1419-1420, 1969.



Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology XIII: Neuroskepticism: Sovereign remedy for the carotid sinus syndrome. Neurology 44:1570-1576, 1994.

Landau WM, Nelson DA. Clinical neuromythology XV: Feinting science: Neurocardiogenic syncope and collateral vasovagal confusion. Neurology 46:609-618, 1996.

Landau WM, Nelson DA. Reply to letters to the editor: Clinical neuromythology XV: Feinting science. Neurology 49:901-904, 1997.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: An 85 year-old woman with a history of falls. JAMA 276:1383, 1996.



Landau WM. To the editor: Cholesterol revisited. St Louis Metro Med11:400,1989.

Landau WM. Analysis of the American cholesterol crisis St Louis Metro Med 12:14-16, January 1990.

Landau WM. Reply to letters to the editor: The great cholesterol debate. St Louis Metro Med, 12:174-177, 1995.

Landau WM. Book review: The lipid hypothesis of atherogenesis by William E. Stehbens. Neurology 45:207, 1995.

Garber AM, Browner WS, Hulley SB. Guidelines for using serum cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride leyels as screening tests for preventing coronary heart disease In adults. Amencan College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med 124:515-531, 1996.

Taubes G. The Soft Science of Dietary Fat. Science 291:2536-2545, 2001.

Landau WM. Fat Fetishism, Dietary Dread, and the Freedom Factor: An Autobiographical Memorandum. J Clin Epidemiol 54:535-536, 2001.



Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology VI: Au clair de lacune: Holy, wholly, holey logic. Neurology 39:725-730, 1989.

Taylor WC, Landau WM. Letters: Atherosclerosis and stroke. Ann Neurol 128:108,1990.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Causes of stroke. Ann Neurol 32:596-597,1992.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Stroking the stroke prevention numbers. Stroke 26:329, 1995.

Gan R, Sacco RL, Kargman DE, et al. Testing the validity of the lacunar hypothesis: The Northern Manhattan Stroke Study experience. Neurology 48:1204-1211, 1997.

Dyker AG, Weir CJ, Lees KR. Influence of cholesterol on survival after stroke: Retrospective study. BMJ 314:1584-1588, 1997.

Gillman MW, Cupples LA, Millen BE, Ellison RC, Wolf PA. Inverse association of dietary fat with development of Ischemic stroke in men. JAMA 278: 2145-2150, 1997.

Landau, WM. To the Editor: Thrombolytic Therapy in Acute Stroke. Arch Neurol 55:1378, 1998.

Landau WM. Is Cholesterol a Risk Factor for Stroke? Arch Neurol 56:1521-1524, 1999.



Landau, WM. Clinical neuromythology IV: Reflex dementia: Disinhibited primitive thinking 39:133-137, 1989.

Landau WM. Reply to letters to the editor: Primitive reflexes. Neurology 39:1001-1002, 1989.

Landau WM. Reply to letters to the editor. Comparison of treatment with counseling is not a test of treatment for aphasia. Arch Neurol 45:371-373, 1988.

Hartman J, Landau WM. Reply to letters to the editor: Aphasia therapy: More than just hand-holding. Arch Neurol 46:249-250, 1989.

Landau, WM. Treatment for aphasia; Etwas und so what? In: Mauritz K-H, ed. Neurologische Rehabilitation 2. Volker Homberg, Bern, Gottingen, Toronto, Seattle, Verlag Hans Huber, pp. 229-231, 1992.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: "The Sterile Couch". Perspect Biol Med 34:312,1991.



Nelson DA, Landau WM. JAWS: Diversities of Gnathological History and Temporomandibular Joint Enterprise. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 67:141-147, 1999.

Nelson DA, Landau. WM. Intraspinal Steroids: History, Efficacy, Accidentality and Controversy with review of United States Food and Drug Administration Reports. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatr, 70:433-443, 2001.

Nelson DA, Landau WM, et al. Correspondence: Intrathecal Methylprednisolone for Posttherpetic Neuralgia. N Eng J Med 344(13): 1019-1021, 2001.

Landau WM. To the Editor: Pharmacologic Treatment of Pain in Polyneuropathy. Neurology 56:1121, 2001.



Jaffe A, Landau WM. Clinical neuromythology XI: Death after death: The presumption of informed consent for CPR, ethical paradox and clinical conundrum. Neurology 43: 2173-2178, 1993.

Jaffe AS Landau WM. Reply to letter to the editor: Death after death. Neurology 44:1770, 1994.

Jaffe AS, Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Prognosis and cardiopulmonary resuscitation in elderly patients. N Engl J Med 331:479, 1993.

Jaffe AS, Landau WM, Wetzel RD. Editorial: Resuscitation 2000: The need for improved databases in regard to neurological outcomes. Resuscitation 37:65-66, 1998.

Jaffe AS, Landau WM, Wetzel RD et al. Correspondence: Automated External Defibrillators. N Eng J Med 344(10): 771-773, 2001.



Landau WM. Letters to the editor: Prevalence of multiple sclerosis. Ann Neurol 32:717-719, 1992.

Landau WM. Commentary: Chicken Little vs. science. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 19, 1996.

Landau WM, Evans G, Slavin R. Commentary: Studies linking deaths to pollution are flawed. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 24, 1997.

Landau, WM. Humbug breast cancer follies: Odds ratios for the relative risk of truth: Unsolicited reportage from a board certified non-epidemiologist. Perspect Biol Med 40:536-542, 1997.

Landau, WM. Reconditis: A Malignant Variety of Obscurantism Associated with Pathological Deficit of Common Sense. Perspect Biol Med 42:221-224, 1999.



Landau WM. Hassler harassment: A rewarding hobby for type A personalities. St Louis Met Med 13:12-16, 1991.

Landau WM. Reply to letters to the editor: Hassler harassment. St Louis Met Med 13:1-5, September 1991.

Jester G, Landau W, Pisani R, Selhorst J. Letter to the editor: Multiple sclerosis. St. Louis Business Journal, June 3-9, 1991.

Landau WM. Jester G. Disenchantment with Local Chapter Leads to Greater Concern Over National Multiple Sclerosis Organization. AIP Charity Rating Guide and Watch Dog Report, Spring. 1-5, 2000.

Landau WM. Commentary: Health must include mental health. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 10, 1991.

Landau WM. St. Louis Regional Medical Center. St. Louis Met Med 19:10-11, May 1997.



Landau WM. Book review: The Crisis in Clinical Research: Overcoming Institutional Obstacles by Edward H. Ahrens, Jr, 240 pp., ill., NewYork, Oxford University Press, 1992.

Burde RM, Landau W, Stroud M. Jiggle-jogger-watcher’s nystagmus. Journal of Absolute Unpublishability. 0:XX, 1983.

Landau WM. Viewpoints: The call for a constitutional convention: A con-anti-con-con dialogue. ACLU/EM Liberties St. Louis 14:3-4,1983.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Paranoid era. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 27, 1992.

Landau WM. Editorial: Neuroreality I: Dedicated demolition of the decade of the brain: The genuine threat to neurologic research from the animal radical right. Neurology 45:609-610, 1995.

Landau WM. Reply to letters to the editor: Animal radical right. Neurology 46:883-884, 1996.

Landau WM. Editorial: Landau-Kleffner syndrome: An eponymic badge of ignorance. Arch Neurol 49:353, 1992.

Landau WM. Reply to letter to the editor: Landau-Kleffner syndrome: Some suggestions. Arch Neurol 50:896, 1993.

Landau WM. Presidential address. Trans Amer Neurol Assoc 103:1-2,1978.



Landau WM. Physician, pheal thyself. Perspect Biol Med 7:179-181, 1964.

Landau WM. Letter to and message from the editor, Fred Plum MD: The editor edited. Ann Neurol 9:514, 1981.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor regarding Lincoln quotation on the cover of the journal. St Louis Met Med 4:223-225, 1982.

Landau WM. Consummation to be wished, hopefully: It has been said. Perspect Biol Med. 41:7, 1997.



A Rational Approach to Neurological Diagnosis. Junior Medical Student Clerkship Handout, 1989.

Landau WM. On the art of neuro-communication. In: The Silver Spoon or, How to Be One-up on Tests and Procedures: A Collection of Essays for the Neurology Resident. June 1980.

Landau WM. The doctor's dilemma: Problems that do not go away. Perspect Biol Med 32:505-512, 1989.

Landau WM. Training of the neurologist for the 21st century. Arch Neurol 46:21-22, 1989.

Landau WM. Editorial: Strategy, tactics, and accuracy in neurological evaluation. Ann Neurol 28:86-87, 1990.

Landau WM. Graduation address: The doctor’s dilemma: How to have fun while becoming rich and famous. Washington University School of Medicine. May 1989.

Landau WM. Letter to the editor: Menken M, Sheps CG. Sounding board: Undergraduate education in the medical specialties: The case of neurology. N Engl J Med 312:380-381, 1985.

Landau WM. Unbecoming Becomingness of Neurological Practice, 1984.

Landau WM. Caring for patient care: Artless observations about practice, price and profit. Pharos of AOA 58:2-7 Winter 1995.

Landau WM. Response to Clinical Teacher of the Year Award. Washington Umversity School of Medicine Commencement, 1987

"Clinical Neuromythology is wonderful reading, and do we need it! Dr Landau's clarity, logic, humour, and superb use of language should make it a requirement, for medical students and house officers most of all...

"...this is not just clever and amusing reading. These days, the medical profession needs this book, and more like it, for substantial reasons. In an era where economic pressures so visibly challenge practices, it is particularly important that we have clear and scientific rationales for what we do...

"Despite the title, the main points of this book are applicable to all fields of modern medicine...I hope that every medical library will obtain a copy and that it will be constantly in circulation."

Terrence Riley, MC, USN (Naval Operational Medical Institute, Pensacola, FL)
Journal of the American Medical Association

"There is no doubt that this is a wonderful book. It challenges many of the sacred cows in neurology, and mercillessly gores many of them. The more than 600 pages of this book is a testament to the enthusiasm, literary acumen, and productivity of Dr. Landau...

"This is a truly unique, wonderful book, unless Landau has taken aim at one our own pet beliefs or sacred cows. Landau has a entertaining writing style, somewhat influenced by his fellow Missourian, Samuel Clemens. The book is a joy to read and is filled with wise thoughts, decades of experience, and a razor-like wit. Every neurologist should read the book. I'd like to see every one of our residents get a copy at graduation."

98/100 - 5 Stars!

Daniel B. Hier, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Doody's Review Service

"This text is worth more than its listed price...Every resident in training would benefit greatly from reading Landau's text. Rendering such an assignment to a resident would, however, provide the resident with gunpowder to challenge the professor."

Lloyd A. Dayes, MD, PhD (Loma Linda University, CA)
Journal of Neurosurgery