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From The CriticsReviewer: Jay P. Goldsmith, MD (Tulane University School of Medicine)
Description: This is the fifth edition of the classic textbook considered the gold standard in neonatal neurology. Authored solely by world authority Joseph J. Volpe, this edition extensively revises and updates the previous edition published in 2001. The author combines basic science with clinical experience to produce a readable and valuable reference that is used by healthcare providers as well as the legal community as the authoritative source in determining the etiology of neonatal brain injury.
Purpose: According to the author, the book is intended as a "systematic, readable and comprehensive synthesis of the neurology of the newborn that will be of value to all individuals who care for the infant." In fact, the wide spectrum of the book, from the development of the nervous system to clinical aspects of various disorders, will have unique appeal to different readers.
Audience: Although intended for the broad audience of all neonatal healthcare providers, the book is written at a level appropriate for neonatologists and pediatric neurologists and their trainees. Although not noted in the preface, the book has found great popularity in the legal community as the go-to reference in brain-damaged baby lawsuits. The author, a professor of pediatric neurology at Harvard, is an internationally known authority in the field.
Features: The book follows the same format of 10 units used in all previous editions. The first four chapters deal with the development of the nervous system, the clinical neurologic examination, and specialized techniques in neurologic evaluation. The next 20 chapters deal with neonatal seizures and other neurologic disorders. The text is readable and the coverage is encyclopedic and well referenced. The author uses tables to great advantage for teaching and has included over 500 in this edition. The figures, especially the brain imaging, are clear and well annotated for nonradiologists. With over 12,000 references, the book is certainly evidence-based. Having a single author adds consistency, but limits opposing opinions in many of the controversial area.
Assessment: As the premier text in this field, this book has no equal. It should be available in every hospital library that has a pediatric department and available to every neonatal intensive care unit provider. While other general pediatric neurology books have sections on neonatal neurology (i.e. Swaiman et al., Pediatric Neurology: Principles and Practice, 4th edition (Elsevier, 2006), Menkes et al., Child Neurology, 7th edition (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006), Maria, Current Management in Child Neurology, 3rd edition (BC Decker, 2005)), none has the unique focus, depth, or broad range of pathophysiologic discussion that this one does. Given the rapid proliferation of information in this field, including new types of brain imaging and evaluation, this fifth edition is a welcome and necessary revision of previous editions.