Semin Neurol. 1998;18(2):169-76. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1040870.


The process of making a diagnosis is integral to the practice of medicine, but diagnostic reasoning is rarely taught as a specific point. In most instances, experienced clinicians use a method of generating and testing hypotheses, finally selecting the hypothesis that best explains the clinical picture. Occasionally, especially distinctive physical signs allow augenblickdiagnose, a term that means "diagnosis in the blink of an eye." The process is too rapid to have followed a hypothesis testing method. Similarly, key fragments of history often permit very rapid diagnosis. The ability to make a snap diagnosis based on characteristic physical signs or snippets of clinical information relies on familiarity with certain critical clinical information. The reader is invited to try to augenblickdiagnose several cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Neurological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neurologic Examination*
  • Time Factors