'Dare I say it ... there are too many patients'

Professor Matthew Kiernan is President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists. He speaks to Clare Pain about what's changing in the profession.

What’s changing rapidly in your speciality?

Technology. The whole landscape has changed. MRI means that we can now see all of the intricate structures of the brain. And on top of that we’re now starting to get into the concept of thinking – so the brain and mind together. Technology is bringing lots of positives but it also brings complexity. Genetics is an example: patients can now send off to Asia for a complete genetic printout for just a thousand dollars. But the trouble is we don’t know what to do with the information. A patient may come knocking on the door concerned that they have genes that are risk factors for dementia, but we don’t understand enough about the disease to know what having those genes means for the patient. So