THE sudden death, at just over 58 years, of Douglas Miller, Forbes

Professor of Neurosurgery at Edinburgh University, robs neurosurgery in

Britain of an academic leader and the world of one of its most gifted

researchers into brain injury.

Professor Miller's achievements reflected his own activities and also

his immense capacity to influence others. His clear commitment to

improving the quality of care of patients, through the highest standards

of clinical practice, was a constant stimulus to colleagues and an

inspiration to trainees, many of whose careers he influenced profoundly.

He was liked and admired both for his talents and for his open, genuine,

good-humoured personality.

Douglas Miller was born in Glasgow and schooled at Glasgow Academy. He

began his undergraduate career at Glasgow University by studying modern

languages -- gaining a clarity of speech and writing that was the envy

of medical colleagues -- but chose to transfer to medicine, graduating

in 1961. A Doctorate in Medicine at Glasgow University was followed by a

post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania which refined

his laboratory and clinical investigative skills.

He returned to Glasgow in 1971 to spend five years with Professor

Bryan Jennett as senior lecturer in neurosurgery, beginning a period of

immense productivity which continued when he moved to the US as Lind

Lawrence Professor at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.

There, he helped to create an internationally renowned

inter-disciplinary research programme on head injury.

In 1981 he returned to Scotland to the Chair of Surgical Neurology at

Edinburgh University. He had a flair for research, picking questions

that were important and answerable with the techniques available at the

time. His work was characterised by an ability to take problems from the

clinic to the laboratory then back to applications in patients.

Among his many contributions, he might be remembered most for

highlighting, characterising, and quantifying what he termed ''secondary

insults'' -- disturbances of brain and body physiology likely to lead to

additional brain damage supervening upon the effects of the initial


Professor Miller's work was well supported by the Medical Research

Council, which recently chose Edinburgh as the location for the major

Clinical Research Initiative, co-directed by him and focusing on

research into acute brain injury from head trauma and stroke.

His firm friendships with erstwhile colleagues in Glasgow led to an

unprecedented number of joint ventures between East and West, including

the organising of international courses sponsored by the British Council

and the staging of two international symposia. Douglas Miller served as

president of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons between 1992

and 1994 and held many international honours.

He is survived by his wife Margot -- who was immensely supportive to

him throughout his career while pursuing her own in nursing -- and by

his sons Derek and Kenneth.