Essentials of Clinical Neurophysiology, Third Edition; Karl E. Misulis, PhD and Thomas C. Head, PhD Butterworth Heinemann, Burlington, MA, 2003. ISBN: 0-7506-7441-5, $52.95
Scope: This is a basic introduction to clinical neurophysiology including electroencephalography, nerve conductions study, electromyography, evoked potentials, and polysomnography (sleep studies).
Part I begins with a review of the basic physiology of muscles and nerves, such as membrane potentials, action potentials, neurotransmission, and muscle contraction. These topics are discussed on the single cell and multicellular levels. The authors then review fundamental principals of electricity. These principles are later drawn on to explain how neurophysiology recording equipment works and the physiologic bases of clinical neurophysiology waveforms.
Parts II, III, IV, and V deal with electroencephalography, nerve conductions study/electromyography, evoked potentials, and sleep studies, respectively. Exact details of typical clinical recording techniques (types of electrodes used, how and where electrodes are placed) are reviewed for each type of recording. The cellular bases of normal results are explained and examples of normal waveforms are provided. Each part also has a section on common abnormal test results with examples of abnormal waveforms.
A CD-ROM is included that mimics the text and provides video and color photographs of electrode placement.
Strengths: This is a well-organized, easily understood introduction to clinical neurophysiology for readers who have very little or no familiarity with the techniques and normal waveforms.
Weaknesses: Some of the detailed points that the authors try to illustrate in the figures are not made clear in the figure legends. Having reference points within the figures-arrows or asterisks-would have been helpful. Although a general reference list is provided, individual items within the text are not referenced. This will make it difficult for readers to look further into specific topics they are interested in.
Recommended audience: Medical students, residents, and specialists without formal training in neurology or electrophysiology will find this text a useful introduction to clinical neurophysiologic recordings.
Critical appraisal: A good foundation for those wishing to order clinical neurophysiology tests and understand the reported results.
Syndee J. Givre, MD, PhD
Department of Ophthalmology; University of North Carolina; Chapel Hill, North Carolina