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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Rita K. Getz, PhD (Midwestern University)
Description: In this second edition of a tutorial for the cranial nerves, the emphasis has shifted to accommodate the change in teaching methods away from didactic lectures and toward problem based learning. The book uses color-coded functional drawings of each cranial nerve's components (termed modalities by the authors) to illustrate cranial nerve connections between the central nervous system and the periphery. The book is bundled with a CD-ROM that contains all of the information in the book as well as additional animation and graphics to illustrate certain concepts. It replaces the first edition published in 1988.
Purpose: It is the authors' intent to blend gross anatomy with the neuroanatomy of cranial nerves. Each cranial nerve modality is presented with peripheral distribution and central nervous system connections discussed and illustrated. Comments made in the preface and acknowledgments suggest that the authors have diligently sought feedback from those who use the book, and have made improvements to the book in order to maximize its usefulness.
Audience: "This book is written for neuroscience students with a wide variety of career goals, from beginning healthcare students to neurology residents. Such a broad-range target audience might be disastrous for some books, but this book seems to be on the mark overall. Although it is too simplistic for the serious neuroscience student, it gives a solid overview and is a good reference for the neurology resident seeking a quick review. It should be noted that those students who need a thorough and exacting knowledge of cranial nerves will use this book to augment a primary textbook. Three of the authors participated in publishing the first edition, and a neurologist has been added to the authorship of this edition. All four authors' credentials are appropriate and demonstrate a workable melding of basic science and clinical pursuits. "
Features: "After an introductory chapter, each cranial nerve is presented, and the nerve modalities for each are consistently color-coded throughout the book. A clinical scenario highlighting damage to one or more of that chapter's cranial nerve modalities is presented. Discussion of the lesion with pertinent clinical information follows later in the chapter. An icon in the text indicates CD-ROM animation of a concept, and text in gray boxes presents "nice-to-know" but not "need-to-know" information. The authors explain their rationale for using sensory/motor rather than afferent/efferent designations. I think that this use of terminology is too simplistic and underestimates the intellectual capabilities of readers. In the same vein, the authors thoroughly describe the gross anatomy in some places and are "fast and loose" with terminology in other areas. For example, in chapter II the terms "front" and "back" are used to refer to the retina. This terminology is confusing, and convention suggests that "outer" and "inner" in reference to retinal layers is preferable. The authors also omit the alphabet soup of GSE, SVE, SSA, etc., and I would have liked to see homage, be it ever so brief, paid to this terminology. "
Assessment: The first edition was quite successful but has not been available for a number of years. It was an excellent contribution to the neuroscience of cranial nerves and was a great resource for students. It is great to see this updated second edition and although the explanations are sometimes too simplistic, and many of the target audience (medical students) cannot use this as their primary textbook, it is still a great resource. The clinical cases appeal to students who appreciate a clinical application of the basic science. Indeed, the authors acknowledge that residents use this book as a quick review, and the expanded clinical components should be helpful for all readers. This book has value and merit and should be considered by anyone enrolled in a neuroscience course.