Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Man with a Shattered World

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 10 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1315
  1. Desmond O’Neill, associate professor, medical gerontology, Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities, Trinity College, Dublin
  1. des.oneill{at}

    The subjective experience of dementia is a difficult reality for doctors and lay people to grasp. This absorbing and brief monograph by the great Russian neuropsychologist A R Luria is short (and compelling) enough to read in one sitting and invites immediate rereading and reflection. Although it is based on a case study of a different illness—brain injury—the lessons and insights from this astonishing narrative have enormous relevance for those affected with dementia. Luria presents and comments on the diary of one of his patients, Sublieutenant Zasetsky, a soldier in the Soviet army whose severe left sided brain injury from a bullet wound in 1943 left him with profound perceptual, memory, and language problems.

    Covering a process of rehabilitation and therapy extending over 25 years, …

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