Andrea C. Adams, MD.
Informa Healthcare, Rochester, MN, 2008.
ISBN 978-1-4200-7973-9, $99.95.
Scope: This is a concise 392-page clinical neurology textbook focused on the most common adult neurologic symptoms. There are 14 chapters devoted to the evaluation and treatment of headache, back and limb pain, dizziness, sensory loss, weakness, cognitive loss, spells, pain, cerebrovascular disease, movement disorders, and immune, infectious and oncologic diseases. The first two chapters review the key principles of a thorough neurologic examination and of the primary diagnostic tests.
Strengths: The author's keen experience as a clinician educator is well demonstrated. She skillfully selects the most important diseases and concisely crystallizes the most important evaluative and therapeutic points. All chapters are comprehensive without over-accentuating the neuroanatomy correlation. Highlights are the chapter on “Spells,” which covers the topics of epilepsy and sleep disorders, and the chapter on “Headache.” Both include excellent summary tables of therapeutic options including side effect profiles. The illustrations are colorful, appealing, and underscore the text well, whether it be a localization point, a brain CT scan, or a muscle biopsy. The length of the textbook is manageable, and it is very readable.
Weaknesses: There are no representative clinical case studies. Although the author may have intentionally left them out to achieve a concise textbook, clinical case studies often provide a good introduction to neurology for the novice. The essentials presented in this textbook will be easily mastered by neurology-oriented residents-in-training, so the “Recommended Reading” section at the end of each chapter is an important feature. Because the neuroinfectious and neuroimmunologic diseases are combined in one chapter, details in this section are sparse. For example, herpes virus is mentioned only in a table. A pithy discussion could be added to underscore important clinical clues (seizure or psychiatric presentation, brain MRI, electroencephalogram, and cerebrospinal fluid findings) in this life-threatening condition. A brief discussion of classic clinical symptoms and signs of prion disease would have been welcome. Stand-alone chapters for these topics are suggested for further editions.
Recommended Audience: All students, residents, and fellows in the medical neurosciences, as well as physicians or health care personnel providing neurologic outpatient care in family practice, hospital, and paramedical settings would find this book useful.
Critical Appraisal: This textbook stands out for its abundant informative color illustrations, succinctly written text supplemented with tables, and manageable length. It is destined to move to the foreground of textbooks for teaching fundamental concepts in neurology. It has appeal to medical students, residents-in-training in neuroscience-based disciplines, family practice physicians, and those in other primary care settings.
Nina J. Solenski, MD, FAHA
Department of Neurology
University of Virginia