David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM
Interview by Karen Burnett
Advances in Mind Body Medicine (Advances): Tell us about about your background. Did your childhood involve family members who were interested in medicine, were you interested in medicine as a child, and what drew you to the study of the brain?
Dr Perlmutter: That is actually a wonderful place to start because, indeed, a very influential family member had a big impact on the rest of my life.
As a kid, my father was not around that much because he was a very active brain surgeon and, as many young men would do, I did everything I could to be able to spend time with him. Knowing that it wouldn’t happen outside of the hospital, I realized that I’d have to spend time with him on his turf.
Even as a 12- and 13-year-old, I was in the operating room—initially watching and then, as I entered middle years, actually assisting him in doing brain operations. During that very influential and formative time in my life, I was getting lessons in brain anatomy and learning about what functions were served by this particular part of the brain or that par- ticular part of the brain. So I became quite interested, at a very impressionable time in my life, in brain science.
When I went to college, it gave me an opportunity to spend the summer doing a brain research project at the University of Florida. I was even able to publish a research paper in the Journal of Neurosurgery and present my findings on a national level when I was 20 years old. That was close to 40 years ago, so I had a very early start in the neurosciences…