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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Daniel B. Hier, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This pocket-sized book is divided into three sections covering evaluation of mental status, disorders of mental status, and management issues. Four major areas of dysfunction are addressed, including coma, encephalopathy, syncope, and dementia. In the section on disorders affecting mental status, the author reviews the effects of hypoxia, stroke, metabolic disorders, seizures, hydrocephalus, and degenerative diseases on mental status.
Purpose: It is intended "to facilitate the diagnosis of disorders of mental status and aid management."
Audience: Neurologists and internists are the intended audience.
Features: The author has provided useful algorithms for evaluation of four common conditions. In addition, he has provided useful summaries of some of the more common causes of disordered mental status.
Assessment: Linking together dementia, coma, syncope, and encephalopathy in a single book is problematic. Furthermore, the approach taken to these conditions is from the point of view of an internist rather than a neurologist. There are no neuroimages and little discussion of underlying neuroanatomic or neurophysiologic mechanisms. The mental status examination described is aimed more at internists than neurologists and lacks the sophistication expected from a behavioral neurologist. In some sense, the title is misleading. Most neurologists think of disorders of mental status as dementia, aphasia, apraxia, amnesia, agnosia, etc. The sections on stroke, epilepsy, metabolic disorders, etc. are useful, but repeat much of what can be found in standard neurology texts. This compact book attempts to advise the busy internist or neurologist in the management of these common but diagnostically complex patients. It provides a fine overview of these conditions, but lacks the detail and specificity to allow patient management without reference to other texts.