Prognostication in medicine is one of our duties, but it is one that we all undertake remembering our many mistakes in the past. We become guarded and finally grudgingly accept that we cannot outguess the capricious nature of disease. So in many instances we beg off when pressed by patients and relatives, and in many instances our professed ignorance may not be a major consequence in the care. This is not the situation in certain disorders in which prognosis is an essential key in selecting patients for treatment programs and advising patients and their families about the possibilities for future employment. One of the areas where this is particularly important is that of patients who have brain damage from strokes.
The recovery from a cerebral infarction is usually slow and usually unpredictable. In this issue of JAMA, Howard and co-workers1 carefully considered factors influencing the return to work in this