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Edited by David I Graham and Peter L Lantos. (2 Vol set (HB), Vol 1 pp1190, Vol 2 pp1140, £395). Published by Arnold, London, 2002. ISBN 0-340-74231-3. CD rom (£145) ISBN 0-340-76-221-7.
What can one say. The latest (7th) edition of Greenfield’s Neuropathology has hit the bookshops, and indeed what a resounding thud it makes! The present edition is bigger than ever, again running into two volumes, but now totalling a staggering 2330 pages and costing an equally staggering £395. It comes equipped with a handy CD version of the illustrations, a mere snip at £145.
The 7th edition has undergone considerable changes in content, since the last edition five years ago, reflecting the ever expanding increase in knowledge of diseases of the nervous system and muscle that has come from the exponential growth in neuroscience research over the past decade. Areas of cellular and molecular neurobiology, and the contributions that genetics and neuroimaging have made towards improving our understanding of the causes of disease and our clinical investigative and diagnostic skills, are more strongly featured. Hence, while greater emphasis has been placed on the basic science of disease, the classic descriptive morphology for which Greenfield’s is renown is well maintained. There are new chapters on “Metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases of childhood” and “Peroxisomal and mitochondrial diseases”. The chapter on “Pathology of schizophrenia” has been shrewdly expanded to cover “The pathology of psychiatric disorders”. Other chapters have been retained as such, but many have been rewritten with new authors reflecting the pre-eminence of each within their particular subspecialty. There is increased reliance on colour illustrations, line diagrams and tables to illuminate the text, and these are of excellent quality throughout. As to be expected, all chapters are written authoritatively with clarity and style, comprehensively illustrated, and lavishly referenced. Judging by the content of the chapters on ageing and dementia, prion disease, and movement disorders, it is my guess that if anything is not included in each chapter, it’s probably not worth including anyway. The accompanying CD rom is user friendly, and the images are downloadable—a boon to those wishing to produce a ready made lecture or presentation of distinction. The book is a must for practicing and trainee pathologists, but is equally compelling for workers in other clinical neuroscience disciplines and basic researchers interested in the roots of the dysfunctional nervous system. Possession of the 7th edition is guaranteed lasting quality and full value, but before lashing out make sure both your arms and shelving are strong enough to accommodate its presence.
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