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valeria muoio

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valeria muoio

I was in my freshman year of medical school (almost 20 years ago) when I first heard the term Neurophobia. Older students used this term to scare younger ones and describe the difficulties in learning neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuroscience. Lucky for me, I had excellent teachers, so what they (the senior students) described as a "terrible learning process" turned out to be a pleasure, fun , and later, my life commitment. But this discovery and love story with the neurosciences was not repeated for many of my colleagues. Many decided to simply ignore the specialty as much as possible, and study only what was necessary to pass tests and deal with emergencies. I always thought that was a sad ending, but now, as a professor of neuroscience and neurosurgery, I see history repeating itself. But I look at it with a more critical eye. Neurophobia is stigmatizing, reductionist and highly harmful. It robs students of the chance to explore a fascinating area of knowledge, to engage with it, and to benefit thousands of people on laboratory benches, in offices, hospitals and classrooms. As a teacher, I've always tried to combat neurophobia, but I feel compelled to do something bigger. I am committed to doing more, whether it be by knowing the prevalence of neurophobia in my academic environment, and devising more effective strategies to combat them. I would love suggestions and contributions. We need more minds working together!

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