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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Brian E. Moore, MD (Rhode Island Hospital)
Description: This is a practical neuropathology technical manual which includes tissue preparation tips, specimen handling procedures, and special staining protocols.
Purpose: The book is designed to serve as a "benchtop manual" for the handling of surgical and autopsy neuropathology cases. This book is needed in the field since general pathology manuals are unable to provide the level of detail required in this highly specialized area of the pathology lab. The authors successfully accomplish their aim of providing practical nuts-and-bolts guidance for neuropathology procedures.
Audience: This is a unique neuropathology book in that it aims for a readership wider than subspecialist physicians. The audience includes histotechnologists interested in improving their staining protocols, necropsy prosectors who must remove cadaveric brain and spinal cord, general pathologists who need to prepare specimens for examination by neuropathologists, and pathology residents rotating on the neuropathology service. The authors are experienced diagnostic neuropathologists who have confident command of the topic.
Features: The book covers both autopsy and surgical neuropathology, including considerations surrounding acquisition of tissue for examination, fixation procedures, staining protocols, specimen storage, and other technical issues. The book opens with a succinct primer on the nervous system suitable for residents and technicians alike. There is a nicely photographed chapter on autopsy technique which includes instructions on brain removal, extraction of the pituitary gland, and so on. Other notable features include chapters on eyeball specimens, muscle biopsies, and peripheral nerve biopsies. Shortcomings of the book include the chapter on disease-specific autopsy sampling, which is an overly superficial treatment of the topic. Another weakness is the little attention given to the perinatal brain and spinal cord autopsy.
Assessment: This is a very informative book which will be useful as a ready reference for any diagnostic neuropathology division. I am aware of no other book which covers so specifically the range of specialized techniques required for proper examination of the nervous system. I hope that this book will find an audience well beyond pathologists, to include the technical staff who prepare specimens for examination.