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The parahippocampal region: organization and role in cognitive function
  1. M Husain

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    By M Witter and F Wouterlood (Pp 366, 69.50). Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002. ISBN 0-19-850917-0

    The parahippocampal region is a curious place: it genuinely has the potential to be of interest to a variety of neuroscientific and clinical disciplines. This book is certainly worth taking a look at if you are interested in learning and memory or high level visual processing in healthy individuals; or if your predilection is for disease states of such diversity as dementia, temporal lobe epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

    Many of the chapters cover the basic neuroscience of the parahippocampal region—its anatomical parcellation, connectivity, neurophysiology, and the effects of lesions in animal models. There is a plethora of terminology here and I did wonder whether the reader could not have been helped greatly by the use of more line drawings, particularly when it comes to the anatomy. My working memory was certainly pushed to its capacity limits on occasions by the nomenclature! Despite this shortcoming, these chapters really do provide a wealth of useful information and direct access to the primary animal literature.

    When it comes to humans, several chapters make a useful contribution. I found the chapter by Van Hoesen on the anatomy of the human parahippocampal region and its involvement in dementia to be particularly helpful and clear. The discussion on imaging cognitive functions of the parahippocampal region by Fernandez and Tendolkar was also interesting but surprisingly short given the explosion of interest in this region.

    My overall impression is that this book is a useful resource, but it is unlikely that anyone will find more than a handful of chapters here that are directly useful and relevant to their interests. Nevertheless, this is a useful reference book that most medical libraries would find well worth obtaining.

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