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Neurology for non-neurologists, 4th edition
  1. V L Stevenson

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    Wigbert C Wiederholt. Published by W B Saunders, Philadelphia, 2000, pp 323, £32.99. ISBN 0-7216-8874-8

    This book is targeted at “students, residents and practicing physicians whose primary interest is not neurology”, although at 342 pages, no colour, and very few diagrams or pictures, I felt this may be a little off putting to non-neurologists and neurologists alike! However, this is an extensive review that considers basic science, pathophysiology, and management issues, which is a useful reference tool. The first three chapters (60 pages) are an introduction to neurology and include a chapter on neuroanatomy, as well as a thorough discussion about the neurological history, examination, and common investigations. There then follows chapters on specific areas such as headache, cerebrovascular disease, dementias, and demyelinating diseases. The chapters are detailed but again may be considered overwhelming for the general physician, for example in the headache chapter four pages are dedicated to the complete International Headache Society’s classification of headache.

    Interestingly, throughout the book there are very few references to when a patient should be referred on or would benefit from the input of a neurologist. Considering this book deals with rare, serious, and genetic neurological disorders, I find this approach rather disappointing. It is also written predominantly for the American market, another factor that perhaps makes the lack of reference to the need for specialised neurological involvement surprising. Drug names, dosage schedules, and units are in the accepted US format.

    In summary, this is a concise but detailed reference book covering a wide range of neurological conditions. It is a useful tool for students and junior doctors but it perhaps encourages the reader to manage complex and rare conditions themselves and neglects the need for specialist input.