Date: Monday 8 March 2021
Speaker: Professor Adam Zeman
Start Time: 18.15
Finish Time: 19.45
Neurology is psychiatry and vice versa
The philosophically challenging ‘problem of consciousness’ and the linked mind-brain divide have a practical counterpart in medicine. Neurologists care for disorders of the nervous system in general hospitals; psychiatrists care for disorders of the mind in mental hospitals. Neurologists and psychiatrists typically train and practice in quite separate professional worlds. Yet the two professions ‘share an organ’, the brain, and the assumption that a clean dividing line can be drawn between neurological and psychiatric disorders is, simply, false. Many ‘neurological’ disorders present with ‘psychological’ symptoms’, like memory loss or depression; ‘psychiatric’ disorders often present with ‘neurological’ symptoms like weakness and seizures; neurological problems are commonly associated with mental distress, and mental distress leaves its signature on the brain. Neither ‘mindless neurology’ nor ‘brainless psychiatry’ is tenable. I will illustrate the argument with cases defying the mind-brain divide.