Description: The book is presented in two volumes: Neural Repair and Plasticity and Medical Neurorehabilitation. Although each of these volumes could stand alone, they are clearly linked and indeed are better together than they are separate. Volume one focuses on the basic science of neuroplasticity and neural repair. The first sections cover physiological neuroplasticity and plasticity in the context of neural injury. The later sections cover the topic of neural repair. Volume two covers many areas of rehabilitation, including motor recovery, but also other issues that are not well covered in many books, such as autonomic dysfunction, sensory rehabilitation, balance, and dysphagia.
Purpose: This book is the first major attempt to link neuroscience to clinical neurology and rehabilitation. Both the editors and the chapter authors are of varied scientific disciplines that include neurobiology, neuroanatomy, physiology, engineering, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical therapy, psychology, and orthopedic surgery. These two volumes contain much of the valuable basic and clinical science gleaned over many decades of research and especially more recently, during the 1990s (the decade of the brain).
Audience: This is an advanced text for the postgraduate level and should be owned by anyone who is developing a career in neuroscience, neural repair, or neurorehabilitation. It is intended for neuroscientists, clinical researchers, and neurorehabilitation practitioners. The editors and authors are all credible authorities.
Features: The introductory chapter to this exciting new book is cowritten by the editors and sets the tone for the two volumes. Importantly, it defines terminology for the reader and reviews modern concepts of disablement. Much of this chapter focuses on the history of rehabilitation and it is a good review. It correctly notes that much of rehabilitation originates from practice and care of people with neurological disease, but only recently has gained a scientific basis through the efforts of neuroscience and neurology. However, it fails to credit the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation for its important contribution of interdisciplinary care, which is the foundation of neurorehabilitation. Indeed, no translational research could possibly have a meaningful impact on neural recovery and neurorehabilitation without an interdisciplinary team of professionals. The section organization works nicely, but the chapters within each section are not well linked to one another. However, each chapter stands well on its own. One may find that the organization of many of the sections is rather odd. For example the chapters in section B2 entitled "Vegetative and Autonomic Dysfunctions" include the rehabilitation of the comatose patient, swallowing, autonomic dysfunction, and sexuality. These are not topics one would naturally cast in the same group. However, they do cover important topics and are valuable to the reader. Volume two falls short in addressing the important area of outcome measures in rehabilitation. As neurorehabilitation has emerged as a clinical science, the problem of measuring clinical outcomes has become increasingly important. Unfortunately, this book does not adequately cover this topic area. A chapter on outcomes in stroke rehabilitation in the section entitled "Outcomes measurement and diagnostic technology" reviews primarily the methodology for developing an outcome measure. Other sections cover therapeutic technology and disease specific rehabilitation and each is a good, up-to-date review of these specific areas. Black-and-white figures are used throughout and enhance the material. A handful of color plates appear in the middle of volume one.
Assessment: This is a timely and important book with interest for a broad range of scientists and practitioners of neurorehabilitation. It is an excellent reference for the postgraduate. However, because this is a fast growing field, this book may be dated in three to five years. Hopefully, a second edition will be forthcoming by then.