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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: There are a host of medical conditions that directly and indirectly impact cognitive functioning. This book explores some of the most common ones that neuropsychologists should be aware of when assessing individuals with cognitive complaints.
Purpose: The aim is to provide comprehensive and current information on the neuropsychological sequelae of common medical conditions.
Audience: The book is intended for students, clinicians, and researchers in neuropsychology and related fields. It is edited by a neuropsychologist with years of clinical and research experience with medical conditions that affect cognition, but the list of contributing authors looks to be colleagues or acquaintances more than experts in the field.
Features: There is no overarching structure to this book or method to the presentation of topics. On the one hand, there is no progression or evolution of the book, but on the other, individual chapters are easy to reference without having to read the entire book. Chapters are hit and miss when it comes to quality. For example, the chapter on TBI completely fails to differentiate mild TBI from moderate-severe TBI, two categorically different conditions in terms of symptoms, recovery, and prognosis. Some chapters have updated information and provide good reviews of a topic, but offer little information specific to actual clinical neuropsychological findings, instead favoring vague statements such as "CNS toxicity" or "cognitive deficits." Some chapters are so brief that they are essentially a description of a single study in a typical journal format rather than a comprehensive review of the literature on the topic. Coverage of traditional neuropsychological syndromes, such as neurodegenerative diseases, seems to be better, but even so there is a lack of discussion of emerging trends in diagnostic and research terminology and concepts. Finally, a major shortcoming of this book is the presentation. The sections of major diseases have subsections broken down by cognitive domain, but this is not an effective way to present the data because neuropsychologists generally do not approach assessment interpretation in such a fragmented manner, and there are always one or two studies indicating a domain is deficient in any given disease, so it ends up seeming like there is at least some evidence that every domain is impaired in every disease.
Assessment: The concept of medical neuropsychology is a welcome one, but it falls well short of success in this particular book. On the one hand, the range of topics covered exceeds most other books, but on the other, the execution is cursory, incomplete, and not always reflective of contemporary trends in the literature.