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From The CriticsReviewer: Cristina Orfei, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: This is an updated and concise review of the correlation between neuroanatomy and behavior. In only 227 pages, this well-referenced book covers the different manifestations of aphasias, agnosias, acute confusional states, dementias, and traumatic brain injury and presents an in-depth discussion of the different frontal lobe syndromes. The first edition was published in 1995.
Purpose: The purpose is to address the large audience of students and clinical practitioners who have an interest in the function of the brain and its clinical manifestations. It is simply worded and well written, meeting the purpose of a quick review with several up-to-date references, and fulfilling the author’s objective of explaining in simple terms a complex scenario.
Audience: The author’s expertise in behavioral neurology and its clinical aspects makes this book a useful addition to the library of every student of neurology and psychiatry and clinical psychologists. The mature clinician will enjoy the discussion of the evolution of functional neuroimaging, new theory in traumatic brain injury, and the genetic abnormalities of dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
Features: The reader will learn the complex interactions of subcortical structures in the disturbance of arousal, the differential diagnosis of acute confusional state, and the perplexing definition of consciousness where neuronal activity is transformed into subjective conscious experience. The description of the case of Phineas Gage in the discussion of frontal lobe syndromes exemplifies the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in disinhibition and distractibility. The medial frontal and dorsolateral syndromes have different characteristics with apathy, mutism, or transcortical motor aphasia, paresis of lower limbs, and perseveration and impairment of executive functions. The concept of higher cerebral vs. high cortical functions is addressed in chapter 12 on the dementias, documenting the importance of the subcortical structures (thalamus, basal ganglia, and cerebral white matter) as participants in the neuronal network that serve specific higher functions. The importance of genetic inheritance in Alzheimer’s disease is identified in abnormalities of chromosome 14, 19, and 21 in five percent of Alzheimer’s patients, while the role of synaptic loss is emphasized more than amyloid deposition in the pathogenesis of this condition.
Assessment: This book, with its simple format and clarity of exposition, will open the door on the complexity of human behavior to a large audience.