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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Ryan Kaplan, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This book is a short but thorough overview on how to evaluate and treat the confused patient.
Purpose: The goal of the editors is to provide a practical guide to the identification, diagnosis, and management of patients with confusion.
Audience: Most, if not all, texts on this topic are quite lengthy and function more as reference books. Most chapters on this topic are also quite long and include detailed explanations of physiology. It is unrealistic to expect primary care physicians and students to read these tomes from beginning to end. A short, highly readable and practical book on this topic is thus highly welcome.
Features: In addition to providing a solid overview of encephalopathic patients, the editors also devote several pages to the approach of the demented patient. One interesting and useful feature is a summary of cognitive changes that accompany normal aging. While they give a nice summary of the major dementing syndromes, the editors provide slightly outdated information on what is known about Alzheimer's disease. This is not surprising given the tremendous amount of research that is currently being done.
Assessment: This unique book (which easily fits into one's lab-coat pocket) will certainly help internists, family practitioners, beginning neurology residents, and medical students get a good overview of the evaluation and treatment of the confused patient in a relatively short time.