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2007 Neurobowl Winners By Elizabeth Stump His team members may be considered “over the hill” — their Neurobowl

team was named the Past Pointers — but that didn’t stop Anthony Lang, MD, and company from defeating a group of spry medical school residents to claim the 2007 Neurobowl championship title! How did they do it? Their strategy was simple, according to Dr. Lang: “Fake a knowledge base that impressed and intimidated the opposition. Once we pressed the buzzer we would stall until something came to mind. If the opposition got to answer we would pray that they would keep burying themselves with guesses (being debited points) until we could come up with the correct answer!” Dr. Lang’s all-star, undefeated team included neurologists Peter Bergethon, Jose Biller, Nancy Newman, and Marc Patterson, pre-selected (“all members had to have at least one major personality flaw,” Dr. Lang noted) by the AAN as a composite of other teams he had been on in the past. After taking a break the previous year, the team came back in 2007 with a few new members who had been part of other teams in the past. Dr. Lang said he hadn’t planned on serving as team captain — when asked for a volunteer to lead, his teammates stepped backward but he wasn’t paying attention, leaving him “last man standing.” Nevertheless, he enjoyed every minute of the two-hour quiz competition, admitting that the only preparation effort was “maintaining a blood alcohol level in the toxic range for one hour before show time.” The questions varied in difficulty, with the toughest one being “Name the second cranial nerve” — the Past Pointers answered correctly after their opponents responded first but erroneously. The grand prize, a gleaming trophy, was awarded to the Past Pointers at the conclusion of the game…but alas, it is just for show, Dr. Lang said, so the winners went home empty-handed, albeit content with the fame and coveted title. “I think that they did offer to allow us to take Dr. Tom Swift home for a week, but we all declined,” Dr. Lang added. As for how his colleagues reacted to the news he had won among the “best and brightest in neurology,” Dr. Lang replied that they were dumbfounded, unable to understand how he was capable of finding the buzzer often enough to answer the questions. But Dr. Lang had the last laugh over any underestimation accorded him on his colleagues’ part: “I think that the AAN is tired of having to admit that Canadian neurologists are so superior.” Perhaps for the sake of maintaining spirited competition at Neurobowl, this year the undefeated Past Pointers — whose name also derives from the neurological finding in ataxic patients seen on finger to nose testing — will be sitting in the audience rather than on the stage. “I don’t think the AAN has been able to find opponents willing to take us on,” Dr. Lang mused. But a fallow year can have its advantages, lulling the unsuspecting into a false sense of security, so fellow neurologists and 2008 Neurobowl winners, beware: The Past Pointers may very well be back in full force in 2009. Not to mention…Could Jeopardy! be far behind?

TEXT BOX at top next to article: One of the AAN annual meeting’s most popular events, Neurobowl is an exciting quiz show devoted to the process of neurological diagnosis with common and rare neurologic case histories, investigations, video clips, and movie segments. It is hosted by AAN Past President Thomas R. Swift, MD, FAAN. 2008 is its 10th year anniversary! 2008 Meeting: Sunday, April 13 6:00 pm-8:00 pm Seating is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. See desktop-saved image of t-shirt

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