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From The CriticsReviewer: Sandra Weintraub, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: Twenty rehabilitation case studies of patients who sustained brain injury are described in this book, authored by one of the foremost experts in cognitive rehabilitation. Amnesia, aphasia, visual agnosia, and difficulties with behavioral control and self-care are among the target symptoms for treatment.
Purpose: The author's hope that "this book will persuade psychologists, neuropsychologists, neurosurgeons, and therapists that rehabilitation for brain-injured people is not only worthwhile but also essential" is fulfilled.
Audience: This book is useful to a wide range of disciplines working with brain injured patients.
Features: Chapter 1 is a too-cursory introduction to mechanisms of brain injury. Chapter 2 points out benefits and drawbacks to different rehabilitation approaches, including cognitive re-training, compensatory programs, and the "holistic" approach. The efficacy of rehabilitation is not, however, specifically discussed in this book, perhaps due to the relative paucity of evaluative evidence. There are charts for documenting functional examples of different cognitive deficits that are useful. The author's immense creativity in the application of current principles of neurocognitive organization to practical management of cognitive deficits is evident throughout. Rehabilitation strategies are grounded in cognitive science and based directly on formal neuropsychological test results or experimental evidence. The chapter entitled "Ted: The Man Who Could Read 'Astrocytoma' But Not 'Dog'" illustrates the way in which an experimental approach can identify components of complex mental processes that are selectively impaired and those that may be spared, guiding rehabilitation strategies.
Assessment: In some ways, this is a very personal account of the author's journey with each patient from the point of diagnosis to outcome. In these days of managed care, with pressures for ever shorter and fewer sessions with patients, and a clamor for "outcome studies" based on large samples of patients, this book is a fitting example of how the methodical, theory-grounded, individually-tailored approach is something to be aspired to rather than replaced.