The Makings of Modern Madness

(Stock photo: Ildar Imashev/Getty Images)
A history of hysteria and syphilis reveals how the separation of neurology and psychiatry has complicated our understanding of mental illness.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he paradigm of mind–brain dualism, like the story of syphilis, is by no means virgin territory. However, Allan Ropper and Brian Burrell’s How The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness puts both the legacy of dualism and the story of syphilis under the microscope, and offers a novel “redress [to the] derailing of a coordinated neurological and psychiatric approach to mental illness.” With the experience of a leading academic neurologist (Ropper) and an authority on brain collections (Burrell), the pair team up for their second book. They present a highly readable switched-at-birth story in


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