Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: This book covers the topic of Alzheimer's disease from epidemiology to assessment to treatment.
Purpose: The intent is to provide a concise, research-based review of current approaches to understanding the biological, psychological, and social effects of Alzheimer's disease.
Audience: The audience that will benefit from this book is broad, extending to anyone evaluating, treating, or caring for patients with Alzheimer's disease. The authors are well known, experienced, and published in the field.
Features: The book begins with a review of diagnostic terminology and criteria, while touching on the idea of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as potentially putting patients at greater risk for clinically relevant Alzheimer's disease. The first chapter presents the stages of Alzheimer's disease, as well as information about age of onset and life expectancy. After laying out these definitions and criteria, the authors have a tendency to fall into lax use of them that, unfortunately, confuses the picture (e.g., stating that normal pressure hydrocephalus "mimics" dementia, when in fact it is a cause). There are also occasional statements that have no empirical support and appear to be the authors' opinion without necessarily making that clear. In chapter 2, the book gets back on track with a cogent and accurate review of the literature on the causes of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. This chapter is an exceptional review for graduate students and medical interns/residents. Chapter 3 illustrates the components of dementia from a biopsychosocial perspective, which is a good lead-in into the discussion in chapter 4 of intervention options that goes well beyond medication. The book ends with a vignette that is very straightforward and representative of optimal, idyllic care rather than of the typical challenges in clinical practice. There is no index, but there is a short list of references and materials. The references are fairly current and the book offers the opportunity to take a test and earn CEs.
Assessment: In a concise and reference-ready format, this is an excellent review of Alzheimer's disease and dementia for students and practitioners alike. For a more in-depth read on MCI, consider Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia, Smith and Bondi (Oxford University Press, 2013).