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From The CriticsReviewer: David O. Staats, MD (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Description: This is a set of laminated pocket cards that serve as a guide to evaluation and diagnosis of patients with dementing illnesses.
Purpose: Although nowhere stated, the purpose is to provide users with a quick and convenient reference for diagnosing and managing demented persons. The cards fulfill these worthy objectives nicely.
Audience: The audience seems to be especially young trainees for whom evaluating patients with dementia is a new experience.
Features: The three laminated pocket-sized cards have information on both sides and are bound at the top corner. They cover the diagnosis of dementing illnesses and provide diagnostic criteria and a means of evaluating each of the illnesses. They address psychopathology regarding the symptomatology of dementing illnesses, diagnostic tools and scales, and a summary of therapies for dementing illnesses.
Assessment: I hope that these cards are useful aids in learning about dementing illnesses. The vast nature of consciousness and how it goes astray in neurological illnesses is subtle, profound, and humbling to behold. These are progressive diseases that have stages — early, middle, and late — which all have normative distinctions among them. Perhaps a future edition of these cards might give some notion of these. For future clinicians, the capacity to perform a mental status examination by heart, like knowing how to rattle off the review of systems, will make the recognition of dementia and delirium an innate skill that will save much time and benefit many patients.