Reviewer: Christopher J. Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: This is the third edition of a thorough review of the field of neuropsychology, including methods of assessments, neuropsychiatric disorders, and the neuropsychological consequences of brain dysfunction.
Purpose: The two purposes of this edition are to update the literature and to expand into areas of growing interest and need in neuropsychology.
Audience: The book is aimed primarily at clinical neuropsychologists and students of this discipline. Clinicians in related fields, such as neurology and psychiatry, also may find this of interest. The editors are respected experts in the field, as are many of the contributing authors who have lent their knowledge to this book.
Features: There is quite a bit that has changed in this update. The editors estimate that 50 percent of the book is revised, and this is probably not far off. Not only have some chapters been updated, but there are a number of new authors who bring fresh perspectives. Additionally, new chapters have been added reflecting the growing interest in the neuropsychological consequences of disease. The final chapters on special topics, such as medical adherence, have immediate clinical value and are welcome. Brief summaries in each chapter concisely communicate the information and the color plates are excellent, but one area in which this book comes up short is in the use of figures and tables. An example of their conspicuous absence is in the discussion of differential diagnosis of dementia etiologies, which is entirely in text and difficult to follow in an over-arching sense. While students will appreciate the compartmentalized and homogeneous coverage of diseases and syndromes, this approach lacks the sophistication to explore evolving issues, such as symptom overlap and common etiologies, that would be expected from a virtual who's who of neuropsychologists. Unfortunately, the book is not uniformly updated, as some chapters clearly still have dated references. In addition, the choice of topics is sometimes perplexing. For example, the inclusion of an entire chapter on dementia associated with Parkinson's disease (PDD) is curious since dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second leading cause of dementia, but it only receives a few paragraphs. Finally, the information in some chapters is rather one-sided, purporting neuropsychological deficits related to certain diseases without the inclusion or discussion of studies indicating just the opposite, or that associated nondisease factors are at the core of the symptoms. This clearly reflects a bias related to the authors' research interests rather than an objective review of the literature.
Assessment: Overall, this is a constructive book for students or other professionals who need a straightforward introduction to neuropsychological syndromes. For more advanced neuropsychologists, it may fall short of the desired erudition, but it could be a worthwhile review of diseases outside their usual practice. Readers would probably want to update their collection if only for the seven new chapters. A more concise and economical option is Clinical Neuropsychology: A Pocket Handbook for Assessment, 2nd edition, Snyder et al. (American Psychological Association, 2006).