Help!-I have a bad case of neurophilia

Help!-I have a bad case of neurophilia

Nitin K Sethi

 Department of Neurology, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY (U.S.A.)









Address for correspondence:


Nitin K. Sethi, MD

Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Weill Cornell Medical Center

525 East, 68th Street

New York, NY 10065






Neurophilia can be loosely defined as the love of or fascination for neurology. Now you may think this is a new recently described exotic neurological syndrome but dwell into the ancient eastern Hindu and Buddhist philosophies and you shall quickly realize that the disorder is as ancient as these civilizations themselves 1. The workings of the brain and of the mind fascinated these first neurophilia inflicted philosophers and they spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decipher its secrets. Techniques to control the mind through meditation and introspection were described and perfected over the years. One can imagine these neurophiles wondering how this roughly 1400 gram lump of wrinkled tissue with no moving parts, no joints or valves could function as the motherboard for all other body systems as well as serve as the seat of the mind, thoughts, senses; in fact the very essence of the individual. As we slowly unlock the secrets of the living brain with the aid of sophisticated imaging techniques, the prevalence of neurophilia has increased exponentially. One would not be wrong to label it currently as a pandemic. Identification of this disorder is relatively easy (Table 1)

Table 1. Five signs that you may have neurophilia (in no particular order of importance)

  1. You cannot wait for the next book by Oliver Sacks or V.S Ramachandran to come out.
  2. You think Dr. House should only concentrate on neurology cases henceforth (a variation of this sign was first described by Dr. Fuller)
  3. You name your first and only child “Brain”
  4. You identify a Queen Square reflex hammer , a tuning fork and a Wattenberg pin among your priciest possessions
  5. You count diagnosing passers-by with Parkinson’s disease by mere observation of their gait as one of your favorite pastimes.

Once inflicted with neurophilia the “disease” course is highly variable. In some it merely manifests with a curiosity to know more about the workings of the brain, yet in others (like us neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuroscientists) it becomes a lifelong obsession to know everything about the brain both in disease as well as in health. My own passion for neurology was kindled at a young age by my neurophilia inflicted neurologist father. Little did I realize that exposure at a tender age would result in such a passion for the study of the brain. Yes it is true and I admit it proudly-I have a bad case of neurophilia. Watch out people it is contagious!




  1. Fuller GN. Neurophilia: a fascination for neurology–a new syndrome. Pract Neurol. 2012; 12:276-8.