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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Neuropsychology is a burgeoning field, especially in the context of military applications where the need to identify and treat soldiers with brain injuries is frequent and paramount. This book provides timely coverage of the information necessary to function as a neuropsychologist in the military setting.
Purpose: The aim of this book is provide a guide for neuropsychologists working in military settings to the numerous aspects of this specialized area of practice.
Audience: There are multiple places where "uniformed neuropsychologists" are addressed, but they are so few in number (in the neighborhood of 15 - 20) that the target is audience is extremely limited. This book also could be appropriate for civilian neuropsychologists in military settings, and clinical psychologists also may find it helpful. The editors are immersed in the military setting (one of them is a naval officer), and the contributing authors are well known in the field of neuropsychology in general.
Features: At first look, this book seems to cover the necessary topics, but deeper analysis reveals some surprising gaps in everyday issues which the authors are either unaware of or unwilling to include. This is apparent in the discussion of malingering in the first chapter, as the issues are presented with a clear bias and are not true to what is seen in everyday practice. In the second chapter on ethics, the issues are rather generic with only limited guidance. In addition, the chapter author makes generalizations about military culture that may be true to his individual experience, but are not widely applicable. The fitness for duty chapter provides a few nuggets of useful information about the MEB/PEB, but real-world considerations are missing, such as differentiating command-directed evaluations from physician-referred consults and the necessary regulations and paperwork (e.g., HFL Form 222) that accompany them. This theme continues throughout the book. It covers topics relevant to general neuropsychology, such as TBI, ADHD, and symptom validity, but specifics of the operation of regulations and evaluations in the military environment are notably limited or absent in some chapters. They also reflect politically correct biases, rather than the facts or science, and there is little information in key areas from individuals entrenched in this military work. Aeromedical evaluations fail to make an appearance altogether. Some chapter authors, while highly regarded in the field, do not work in a military environment, and as such would not be expected to have pertinent information, which makes them a dubious choice for a book on this topic. The sparkling reviews on the back cover are by individuals who do not work in military environments. Moreover, some of the chapters are not up to the usual high standard that is apparent in other publications by these same individuals. The editors' overly enthusiastic intrusion may also be at fault for controlling the content too much, as there are instances where their cases or ideas seem to intrude into the author's writing. Although chapter 5 on TBI is one of the best in the book, it also offers outdated information as current. Chapter 6 is redundant in some regards and fails to mention key articles that are mentioned by colleagues in chapter 5, suggesting that those authors are not completely current on the literature. Later chapters, such as the one on neuropsychological deficits associated with PTSD, fail to consider important limitations in the methodology employed in those studies and fall into the trap of professing catchphrases without critically thinking about what exactly they mean.
Assessment: Much of this book has generic applicability to neuropsychological topics, but falls short of the expertise offered in other books on neuropsychology. As a practical, hands-on guide to the need-to-know policies and procedures when functioning as a neuropsychologist in the military setting, it will be of little help. In fact, the danger is that the book presents itself as an authoritative source on the topic, giving unfamiliar readers a false sense of security, but there are notable gaps in the logistical aspects that might become problematic in practice.