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Edited by Stuart Yudofsky and Robert Hales (Pp 1375 $219.00) Published by the American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington DC, 2002. ISBN 1 58562 004 1
“Clinical neurosciences” has been added to the title of this well known textbook of neuropsychiatry to acknowledge that, if they are to be effective, clinicians need to be conversant with advances in neurosciences. With over 1300 pages, it is a real heavyweight. Physically it’s the same size as Lishman’s most recent edition of Organic Psychiatry. The editors realise that their book is likely to be compared with this classic, and suggest that their book is a dependable American Jeep in contrast to the elegant Rolls Royce of previous “grand European texts”.
They have been able to attract some very authoritative authors and have endeavoured to ensure that each chapter is complete in itself. This works well by and large, but does result in quite a lot of duplication and I could find no attempt to signpost the reader to other relevant parts of the text. The book aims to please quite a wide target audience, from medical students through to specialists. This makes for a book that is easy to read and well presented; plenty of figures, boxes and tables break up the text. But there are some lacunae: if you are looking for a reference book offering a comprehensive review of all aspects of neuropsychiatry then you may be left wanting. For example, I did not find it of much use when investigating the neuropsychiatric sequelae of viral encephalitis. The chapter on cerebrovascular disease was almost entirely limited to a discussion of stroke. As a result there is very little coverage of subarachnoid haemorrhage. I was also disappointed by the rather limited attempts to define the evidence base for some assertions.
There are some excellent review chapters. I particularly recommend “Bedside neuropsychiatry”, “Clinical imaging in neuropsychiatry”, and “The neuropsychological evaluation”; in fact almost all of the early chapters on principles of neuroscience and neuropsychiatric assessment. The last chapter will be invaluable for those of us interested in neuropsychiatric training. The book covers a very large ground to a very high standard. I have a great deal of confidence in the content. Neurologists and psychiatrists will find it extremely useful; it is dependable, easy to access, and right up to date.