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Randolph W Evans. Published by Saunders, Philadelphia, 2003, pp 1005, £62.99 (hardback). ISBN 0-7216-9761-5
Is another textbook of neurology needed? It appears so, because new titles indicate a market even in the internet age. Is Neurologic practice an advance on its competitors? Well, it has good and bad points.
The editor’s introductory sections are bright and pithy: “contrary to the opinion of some non-neurologists an MRI scan is not a substitute for the history and examination”—surely not referring to neurosurgeons? The layout is pleasing, a citrus freshness provided by extensive highlighting in orange. Key points are tabled prolifically, but the quality of the illustrations is not matched in quantity. I liked the chapter on neurological eponyms (a sense of history is never amiss) and the review of relevant psychiatric disorders. The organisation of sections is otherwise conventional.
Eighty seven authors, all but four from the USA, write clearly, but there is a patchiness of cover, with an emphasis at times on less common disorders at the expense of bread and butter neurology. In a book of 1005 pages, Parkinson’s disease is skimmed in barely four and a half and multiple sclerosis merits only six; fronto-temporal dementia is hardly mentioned and CADASIL is neglected. References are restricted to around five per section, which is inadequate for the bigger topics. The book is said to be “comprehensive although not encyclopaedic” and succeeds despite the deficiencies in depth and balance.
Neurologic practice is aimed at neurologists, trainees, other physicians, and students. The price is fair and a copy in the ward bookcase would be well thumbed by junior trainees and the inquiring student, but neurologists and neurological trainees may require more than appears within its pages.