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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Thomas Philip Bravo, MD (Mayo Clinic Arizona)
Description: This pragmatic, pocket-sized guide to the neurologic examination is organized by the major components of the exam and includes helpful diagrams to assist in localization.
Purpose: The author's goal is teach exam techniques in a straightforward manner that is detailed enough to assist in accurate localization of a lesion within the neuroaxis while remaining clinically relevant and accessible to general practitioners, medical students, or training neurologists. Given the degree of "neurophobia" and the growing importance of correctly recognizing increasingly treatable neurological diseases, this is a worthy goal. The author covers this topic in a balanced manner and has produced a very helpful pocket guide to the neurological exam.
Audience: The book is written for non-neurologists and directed primarily at medical students, with an additional audience of general practitioners. It is appropriate for medical students and junior neurology residents as a teaching guide and reference source, but it may be too detailed for the average busy general practitioner.
Features: The book first covers the salient points of the neurological history and then systematically details the examination techniques, including how they localize pathology. It takes a logical top down approach and each chapter begins with an anatomy review and ends with a summary of the system. Each chapter contains helpful diagrams and summary tables which are very useful for reference. Also includes are chapters on two specific clinical settings: the coma exam and stroke evaluation. While the coma chapter covers the evaluation well, the stroke chapter did not include the NIH stroke scale, which is an indispensable tool in this patient population. With that exception, the book covers the neurological examination in a succinct manner.
Assessment: This is a useful, easy-to-reference, clinically focused pocket book for medical students or junior neurology residents. It is comparatively compact as compared to other student-centered guides, yet covers the same general material thoroughly.