Description: This unique textbook, a selective review of neuropathophysiology for the neuroscientist, aims at presenting many neurological disorders along with the science underlying their etiology and treatment.
Purpose: The purpose of this book is to provide basic neuroscientists with a comprehensive view of the mechanisms underlying specific neurological diseases. This is not only a worthy objective, it is unfulfilled by any other book, to my knowledge. The objectives are met by the formula applied by the section editors. It does not cover everything, but it does cover all common disorders as well as those thought to be of particular interest.
Audience: The book is squarely aimed at neuroscience graduate students, and would also be a good source of clinical and pathophysiological information for a translational scientist. The editor, section editors, and contributors are all authorities in their fields.
Features: It starts off with lysosomal disorders, which is a little jarring, but the book is organized into central and peripheral disorders, with the central disorders subdivided mainly by disease etiologies (neoplastic, vascular, etc.) One section covers imaging methods, which is very helpful, given their importance in both clinical diagnosis and research. Peripheral disorders (nerve and muscle) receive somewhat short shrift, particularly as both central and peripheral pain syndromes are included in this half of the text. Cerebrovascular disease is well covered, including vascular dementia and recovery of function after stroke. Pediatric disorders are well covered, including developmental syndromes, and selected genetic and metabolic disorders. Multiple sclerosis gets a fairly short chapter, and leaves one with a sense of frustration about the disorder, which is probably appropriate. Color illustrations and other graphic elements in each chapter give the students a take-home message. Although the stated purpose limited topics to neurology, psychiatric disorders are not covered, with a few exceptions on the extensive border between psychiatry and neurology (e.g. attention-deficit hyperactivity).
Assessment: For five years I was course director of clinical neuroscience, a course for neuroscience program graduate students, the intent of which was to expose students to the broad range of clinical problems where gaps in knowledge limited clinical practice. This exposure provides clinical context for students who already have an intellectual interest. It also facilitates collaboration, and ultimately, translational research. The problem that I faced five years ago is that the only appropriate textbook that I new of, Pearlman and Collins's Neurobiology of Disease (Oxford University Press, 1989), was out of print. But even that book was more oriented toward the other direction of information flow, from neuroscience to clinicians. Now a book with the same name aims mainly at the target audience of neuroscientists. It has no competitors, to my knowledge, but could be supplemented by a similar text for psychiatric disorders.