Jules Montague

Writer | Broadcaster | Neurologist

United Kingdom

BBC Radio 4 presenter - Dementia: Unexpected Stories of the Mind, a five-part documentary.
Pick of the Week: Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, and Observer

Freelance writer: Guardian, Observer, BBC, New Scientist, New Statesman, Aeon, Granta, Mosaic, Independent, The Verge, Lancet, and NME.

Author of "THE IMAGINARY PATIENT". Granta Books. May 2022. As featured on BBC Radio 4, in the Telegraph and Times, and at the Royal Institution. Telegraph Books of the Year



Author of "LOST AND FOUND". Published by Sceptre, March 2018. As featured on BBC Radio 4, Sky News and in the Guardian, Telegraph, and Sunday Times.



How diagnosis can get us wrong | Dr Jules Montague

Diagnosis is just a label, explains investigative journalist and former consultant neurologist, Dr Jules Montague. A diagnosis helps explain your symptoms and should get you the right medical treatment, but what happens when your diagnosis is affected by factors outside of science? It’s this thorny question that Jules tackles in her talk by sharing stories about three different diagnoses where bias fed into how these patients were treated. Luckily, Jules believes we can tackle bias within...

BBC Radio 4 - Start the Week, Health, sickness and exploitation

Jules Montague, Gavin Francis and Jennifer Jacquet discuss diagnosis, recovery and challenging the science, with Adam Rutherford When people feel ill they go to the doctor for a diagnosis and what they hope will be the first step on the road to recovery.


New Statesman
Why it's a bad time to give police officers stun guns

On 17 May Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, announced that part-time, volunteer special constables will be allowed to use electroshock weapons, ie stun guns, one of several measures included in "Operation Sceptre", a government campaign promoting crime-fighting. This is cause for concern for several reasons.

New Scientist
Advising alcohol abstinence in pregnancy may do more harm than good

New guidelines from the World Health Organization recommending abstinence from alcohol in pregnancy could have wide ramifications, warns Jules Montague "THEY know that they have a tummy mummy. And she drank alcohol when they were in her tummy." That is how Alison, who lives outside Belfast, UK, explains things to her adopted sons Sean (13) and James (12).

New Scientist
The truth behind melatonin and why it may not help you sleep

Millions of people take melatonin to help them nod off, treat jet lag and cope with night shifts, but new evidence suggests we may have misunderstood the hormone and how to use it effectively IT IS sometimes referred to as the Dracula hormone because it emerges at night and lays low during the day.

the Guardian
In Lesbos's Moria camp, I see what happens when a child loses all hope | Jules Montague

Ayesha is nine years old. As her father lays her down gently on a mattress at the clinic, the only perceptible sign of life is the slow movement of her ribcage as she breathes in and out. She otherwise remains almost motionless, in stark contrast to the other children who run around this Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) paediatric clinic by Moria camp.

Wellcome Collection
The indelible harm caused by conversion therapy

Jules Montague Doctor Jules Montague is a former consultant neurologist, and the author of 'The Imaginary Patient: How Diagnosis Gets Us Wrong' (Granta 2022). It explores how the practice of diagnosis is tainted by the forces of imperialism, politics, discrimination and Big Pharma.

BBC Science Focus Magazine
Kleine-Levin Syndrome: Meet the human hibernators

There are some young people who are lost to the world. These real-life 'sleeping beauties' are locked in a state of slumber, consumed by sleep for 15 to 20 hours each day, sometimes more. Then they finally open their eyes, only to speak monosyllabically or in muddled sentences.

BBC Future
The 'unwarranted hype' of stem cell therapies

Jay Shetty is 8 years old. He is smart and bright, says his mother Shilpa, even if he can't do all the things his younger brother can. "Jay doesn't sit up or use his hands much. He's non-verbal and we don't know how well he can see," she says.

Wellcome Collection
When wounds replace words

For the many thousands of refugees waiting in Greece, the process to establish the truth of their tragic personal histories is often extremely upsetting. But a group of medics and legal workers is working together to make the system more humane.

the Guardian
What happens when doctors change your diagnosis?

Suzy Syrett suddenly stopped going to her bipolar support group. Nobody had thrown her out, but one day she had bipolar and the next day she didn't. Her symptoms had begun at university - she withdrew socially, her grades began to fall and her mood was low: "I was essentially struggling with life and not understanding why."

BBC Future
Our pets: the key to the obesity crisis?

Until last year, Borris would never turn down a pork chop. He was partial to ice cream during the summer and loved a Sunday roast in the winter - including beef with Yorkshire pudding, pigs in blankets, mashed potatoes, and a selection of vegetables. Borris is a five-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

BBC Future
Can an auto-immune illness explain the Salem witch trials?

'Their limbs wracked and, tormented so ... their arms, necks, and backs turned this way and that way, and returned back again. Their mouths stopped, their throats choked. They had several sore fits.' - A contemporary description of cousins Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, the first of the afflicted at Salem.

the Guardian
Brain hack: the quest for new treatments for eating disorders

In a dark, nondescript room tucked away in the depths of a London research centre, Lucy Gallop is demonstrating how we might treat eating disorders in future. Improbably, she presses on a pedal under a desk, like a driver pulling away in first gear.

BBC Future
The cities that need a warning label?

Oliver McAfee was supposed to be home in time for Christmas 2017. But the 29-year-old landscape gardener, originally from Dromore in Northern Ireland's County Down, hasn't been seen since 21 November 2017. McAfee had been cycling along the Israel National Trail, near the desert city of Mitzpe Ramon, before he vanished.

BBC Future
The criminals who fool doctors

They called him "The Oddfather". He was boss of New York's Genovese crime family and one of the most influential Mafia figures of his time. But for more than three decades, Vincent Gigante feigned insanity to avoid jail time, wandering around Greenwich village in a bathrobe and slippers.

Wellcome Collection
Are doctors medical detectives?

The character of Sherlock Holmes, famous for drawing his conclusions from detailed observations, was inspired by a real-life doctor. But while doctors' diagnoses use similar methods to detectives, the clues they spot and the verdicts they reach may be less clear-cut.

The 'river people' under threat

Monai Doley is telling me how he cures snake bites. We are standing in a paddy field: scorching sun, cloudless sky. This is the island of Bhekeli 1 in Assam, north-eastern India. Doley, tall and broad-shouldered, head shaved, tells me the Cal Bikal snake is particularly dangerous.

the Guardian
How design is helping people with dementia find their way around

One sunflower painting looks like another here, each numberless door is identical and I am hopelessly disoriented; desperate to find an exit, a shaft of light, even. I turn right, up another featureless corridor, and then left and then right again - but is this really the way I came?

The sex workers who are stopping HIV

Sex workers in Mozambique are providing health support to those at the margins of society. They face political and financial challenges, but against the odds they are helping thousands. Jules Montague reports. It's late when we reach Inhamízua on the outskirts of the city. Stalls sell crackling chicken feet and sizzling plantain.

Granta Magazine
Possessed | Jules Montague | Granta

'I feel my Spectre rising upon me! . . . The Spectre is, in Giant Man; insane, and most deform'd' - William Blake The man squats on my chest. His palms stretch across my collarbone; his fingers extend to press my carotid arteries. A mouse hangs by its tail from the bedroom lamp to my right.

the Guardian
Why doctors get it wrong about when you will die

A blind teenager with a brain tumour is at the centre of a UK court case that pits the hopes of his parents against medical opinion. In February, doctors argued that the 18-year-old had no more than two weeks to live and that active treatment including chemotherapy and brain surgery would be futile.

BBC Future
How your social media betrays your mood

There it is in your Facebook timeline or Instagram gallery - a digital footprint of your mental health. It's not hidden in the obvious parts: the emojis, hashtags and inspirational quotes. Instead, it lurks in subtler signs that, unbeknownst to you, may provide a diagnosis as accurate as a doctor's blood pressure cuff or heart rate monitor.

The Verge
Apple's 2017 Webby-nominated ad featured autism pseudoscience

As part of 2016's Autism Acceptance Month, Apple released an uplifting video called Dillan's Voice, in which a nonverbal teenager delivers a speech at his graduation, his text turning swiftly to spoken word through his iPad. Before he had the iPad, he says in the video's voiceover, people thought he didn't have a mind, that he wasn't in control.

the Guardian
Memory loss: what makes people forget who they are?

She was missing but police knew where she was. She could not remember her name, her family or her childhood. She knew that she was dying, but only that. Interpol released a missing persons report: 1.7m, 91kg, brown eyes, chip on front tooth, right-handed, Caucasian, appears to be in her 50s, piercing on each ear, shoe size 39.

the Guardian
Do our memories make us who we are? - books podcast

On this week's show, we take a look at the brain and how it relates to our sense of self. Wendy Mitchell, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at 58, talks about her memoir Somebody I Used to Know and what changes her dementia has caused in her personality, tastes and everyday life.

the Guardian
Münchausen by internet: the sickness bloggers who fake it online

How would you fake cancer? Shave your head? Pluck your eyebrows? Install a chemo port into your neck? These days you don't need to. Belle Gibson's story is a masterclass on faking cancer in the modern age. She fooled Apple, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Penguin.

the Guardian
From dream to nightmare: when your sperm donor has secrets

Sperm donor 9623 looked good on paper. An IQ of 160. A bachelor's degree in neuroscience, a master's in artificial intelligence, en route to a PhD in neuroscience engineering. A passion for "crystallography, algorithms and fitness". Ontario couple Elizabeth Hanson and Angela Collins thought they had found the perfect father for their baby.

the Guardian
Do lung cancer scans deter smokers from giving up?

These days, even the most defiant smoker is unlikely to be ignorant of the health risks associated with a 40-a-day habit. But what if you could have an annual Cat scan of your lungs for cancer? To catch out nodules twisting into shadows of malignant cells.

The Independent
Should doctors be allowed to prescribe cannabis to their patients?

Marijuana didn't feature in my textbooks when I started Medical School nearly 20 years ago. Then again, I didn't study the world's oldest surviving medical text, the 2nd century BC Shen-nung Pen-tshao Ching. This championed the herb in its treatment of "rheumatism, female weakness, absent-mindedness, and malaria".

the Guardian
Why are women with brain tumours being dismissed as attention-seekers?

This week, the Brain Tumour Charity reported that women with brain tumours are being dismissed as attention-seekers or told they are just tired - only getting a diagnosis after several trips to the doctor. This delay can be catastrophic. But it is perhaps unsurprising.

the Guardian
So homeopathy can help cure TB? Tell that to my sick patients | Jules Montague

This week, David Tredinnick (MP for Bosworth, Conservative, Capricorn) told us that astrology and homeopathy could help the NHS. In the past he's told the House of Commons of the latter's effectiveness in treating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. He is welcome to join me on my neurology ward rounds this week.

the Guardian
How to win any argument: pseudo-scientific neuro-gibberish

If you're hoping to win an argument this week, try talking neuro-gibberish. Irrelevant neuroscience information - or "neurobabble" - makes for the most convincing scientific explanations, according to researchers at Villanova University and the University of Oregon.

the Guardian
This is what it feels like to die

The American Chemical Society has released a slasher video in time for Halloween. What happens in your brain as death (an axe-wielding fiend) approaches? Fear triggers the thalamus, the brain's switchboard. Danger calls.Fear courses through your bloodstream via glutamate, the hypothalamus gears up for fight or flight.

BOOKS - Lost and Found: Memory, Identity, and Who We Become When We're No Longer Ourselves

Het onteigende brein - Jules Montague -

Over geheugen, verlies en identiteit Bestel veilig en betrouwbaar bij onze eigen webshop Boekenwereld.com en het boek wordt gratis bezorgd. Het onteigende brein van Jules Montague is een aangrijpend, verhelderend en troostrijk boek over wat er resteert als ons geheugen ons in de steek laat, voor liefhebbers van Oliver Sacks en Irvin Yalom.

The Irish Times
Lost and Found: Want to understand the human brain? Read this

If we lose our memories, do we lose ourselves? This is the question Jules Montague sets out to answer in Lost and Found: Memory, Identity and Who We Become When We're No Longer Ourselves. In her quest to answer this question Montague takes the reader on an exquisite journey into the human brain and beyond that, to the metaphysics of personhood.

The Sunday Times
Finding peace of mind

Dementia can be treasured and amnesia has its benefits, according to consultant neurologist Jules Montague, who is turning traditional thinking on its head in her new book. By Eithne Shortall.

Ryan Tubridy Interview

Dr. Jules Montague joins Ryan Tubridy in studio to talk about her work and matters of the mind. "Lost and Found: Memory, Identity and Who We Become When We're No Longer Ourselves" is available now.

Sceptre pre-empts neuroscience guide to identity

Sceptre has pre-empted Lost and Found, a "ground-breaking" book about "the new neuroscience of identity". Drummond Moir, associate publisher at Sceptre, pre-empted UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canadian) rights to Lost and Found by consultant neurologist and writer Jules Montague from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit UK.