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By Joanne Green (Pp 311, US$69.95). Published by Academic Press, San Diego, 2000. ISBN 0 12 298190 1
This book gives comprehensive and thorough up to date coverage of this topic. It starts from the premise that neuropsychological evaluation of older people is a useful and productive endeavour, and then sets out to assist in making the process as efficient as possible, while being clearly respectful and humane. It guides the reader through every aspect of the process, from tasks which need to be addressed before the patient arrives, through the clinical interview and the formal testing, onto interpretation of test findings and report writing, rounding off with providing feedback and follow up. The practical aspects are supported by example letters, documents, forms, and reports, together with 11 useful case studies. In addition there are chapters reviewing in detail assessment procedures for memory and other cognitive functions, and four useful chapters examining the neuropsychological profiles of the most common (and a few rarer) conditions likely to be encountered in clinical practice, from Alzheimer's disease through to normal pressure hydrocephalus. The important topic of depression, its assessment, and its impact on neuropsychological performance, receives a chapter in its own right.
The author is to be congratulated on producing a book which travels well outside the North American context in which it was written; by largely concentrating on the Wechsler tests (and the most up to date versions of them) the detailed discussion of tests and their uses and properties seems familiar and accessible. The book is soundly based in current research and theory—for example, on Lewy body dementia and the vascular dementias—but at the same time conveys a strong sense of clinical experience and wisdom. The reader will not find here a defence of the contribution of neuropsychology to the management of cognitive disorders in older people, but a better account of the state of the art would be difficult to imagine.
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