252: Allan Ropper | Mental Illness, Syphilis, And Hysteria In “How The Brain Lost Its Mind”

As Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Allan Ropper is able to relayed his decades of neurology experience to students, and as deputy editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, he is able to help edit, guide, and shape the selection of articles that meet the criteria for one of the top science journals of our time. He is also lead editor for one of the top neurology textbooks of current time, Principles of Neurology, now in its 11th edition.

Dr. Ropper joins on episode 252 to discuss his recent book How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness. It covers a history of hysteria, syphilis, and conditions that represent the deviation between the brain and the mind. Our discussion includes topics in the book, Dr. Ropper’s career, neurology as a whole, and how past responses to mental illness have functioned.

Show notes:

  • how Dr. Ropper got to be in the field of neurology
  • how the mind and brain are connected, and why the book relates the two
  • the way that Dr. Ropper influenced the field of neurological intensive care
  • what it is like being an editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, including some details about the editing process
  • the field of research that is in its current moment, with an increase in research and published papers
  • how individuals would like to get control of their aging or life conditions, but how we have only come so far
  • the difference between neurology and neurosurgery, including some of the disorders of each
  • what separates a brain disorder from a mind disorder
  • the potential over-medicalization of every-day life
  • the issues of syphilis and hysteria as detailed in the book
  • how people come into the doctor with a broad description, and a neurologist has to reverse engineer the nervous system issue
  • what Moya Moya is, and the details of this specific condition
  • why many conditions of neurology do not have a known source
  • how so much is described as though A or B is wrong with a person
  • a message regarding the theme of the book and Dr. Ropper’s link of that to brain conditions

It was great to have Dr. Ropper on the show. He is an educating individual who is receptive and perceptive. You can check out How the Brain Lost Its Mind on Amazon.