I have been avidly following your blog for a while now, and I would like to ask you a few questions about the field of neuropathology. I am an MD/PhD student, currently in the PhD phase of my training. I am researching neurological disease, and I want to continue in this field. I am still relatively early in the program (I just finished the first year of my PhD), but I would like to start thinking about possible future directions. Neuropathology seems to be a great fit based on my interests, but I would like to discuss some of the details with you.
First, you have mentioned in some posts that a neurology residency followed by neuropathology is no longer the standard pathway (September 2010 guest post). Is it actually a disadvantage? If I want to do neuropathology work, should I plan to go through pathology? The guest poster (Dr. John Donahue) seemed to think that the neurology to neuropathology was a long shot for new students, because most departments want a more general pathologist instead of a total specialist in neuropathology.
Second, I was interested in your take on research in neuropathology. To an outsider, it seems particularly well suited: it includes predictable work hours, access to human tissue, and a generally academic mindset. Is the actual practice different? Are there any challenges to pathology research that I may not be aware of? If I chose to do research in neurology instead, would it be substantially different?
Finally, I am interested in the long-term prospects of the field. I count fully 20 openings posted on your blog, which certainly seems hopeful. However, from searching on Google I have seen horror stories about how difficult it can be to get into the field of pathology in general. Some pathologists report taking fellowship after fellowship to avoid being unemployed while waiting for a position to open up. Also, some residents were worried about the field as a whole, as it is easier to computerize or outsource than other fields of medicine. Are these concerns justified?
Thank you for maintaining your blog. I am glad that there is a resource for students to find out a little about neuropathology, and to feel connected to the field as it evolves.