Description: This book outlines areas of research in schizophrenia to identify progress made to date, areas for future study, and whether current progress might impact clinical decision making.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an overview of progress in understanding, treating, and developing a conceptualization of directions of study in the field of schizophrenia. These are worthy objectives, because the scope of research in schizophrenia spans many modalities (e.g., basic laboratory, genetics, therapeutics, health policy) and extends far beyond what is possible for individuals to stay abreast of, even with diligent effort. This book is quite effective in meeting its aims as the summaries are clear and succinct, each section includes appropriate commentary to contextualize the information, and actionable information is clearly identified and highlighted.
Audience: The book is written for those who are active in the field of schizophrenia and who wish to gain an overall understanding of current research progress across the various modalities of study. The authors and editors accomplish their objectives.
Features: This book first catches readers up to speed on the overall progress in the field. It then clearly identifies specific areas of research and provides succinct, clear updates in each area of study. The second chapter on the nosology of schizophrenia is particularly helpful to those newer to the field in the way it narrates the evolving conceptualization of schizophrenia over time through its discussion of the context for major revisions of diagnostic guidelines. Another striking feature of this book is the helpful way it summarizes basic research and discusses these findings to connect the dots for readers who do not work in these areas. The strongest aspect of the book might be in this area, as it leaves readers with a clear understanding of how to conceptualize the significance of basic genetic, electrophysiological, and neuroimaging research progress and how this progress is pertinent to the understanding of schizophrenia. In general, this book provides appropriate emphasis on clinical updates based on available research. However, at times, the level of focus and discussion based on available clinical data could be more consistent. For example, the discussion on the potential use of novel interventions (anti-inflammatories, antioxidants) based on smaller studies is useful and clearly illustrated with algorithms and diagrams. At the same time, it would have been useful to discuss more fully the underutilization of clozapine, as the evidence supporting its use is robust and the clinical outcomes are known to be profound.
Assessment: This is an excellent book that would be quite useful to anyone looking for an overview of the progress in schizophrenia to date. It is a solid addition to the literature.