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Kenneth Hugdahl, Richard J Davidson, eds. Massachusetts: MIT Press 2003, pp 776, $90.00. ISBN 0-262-08309-4
Clinicians probably most commonly encounter brain asymmetry in respect of language function. However, asymmetries, both anatomical and functional, exist at all levels of the nervous system. In this edited volume, Hughdahl and Davison present 21 varied chapters that range widely over current thinking about functional asymmetries and their correlates in brain anatomy. In presenting their field, the editors have chosen a mixed selection of chapters that range from basic physiological processes at the neuronal level through to major clinical disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. The major techniques used in the study of brain asymmetry, such as neuroanatomy, functional brain imaging, and transcranial magnetic stimulation are given their own descriptive chapters, but the bulk of the book is devoted to chapters that describe basic scientific studies of visual, auditory, and emotional laterality. With respect to clinical disorders, the major psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia and depression) are given their own chapters but the clinical neurologist may feel a little disappointed that only callosal agenesis and dyslexia are discussed in the section on neurological disorders. However, this is a minor criticism; the strength of the book is the breadth of research presented, and the description of how newer neuroscientific techniques are being brought to bear on longstanding questions of functional and anatomical asymmetry in the human brain.