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Book Review

Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias: A Practical Guide, Second Edition

Frank W. Brown, MD

Published: August 15, 2009

Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias: A Practical Guide, Second Edition

by Marc E. Agronin, MD. In book series: Practical Guides in Psychiatry. Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008, 350 pages, $39.95 (pocket-sized paperback).

Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias: A Practical Guide, Second Edition, by Marc Agronin, is an absolutely delightful, compact, and fact-filled 350-page pocket-sized book of concise information about dementias. The volume is ideally suited for psychiatric residents, primary care physicians, psychiatric nurse practitioners, nursing students, and those medical and nursing staff in the long-term care setting. In addition, this book is an excellent refresher for those considering certification or recertification in geriatric psychiatry. If you are a busy practitioner in need of quick and accurate information on dementias, this handbook provides an excellent source for that information.

The number of people in the United States with a diagnosis of dementia continues to grow, both in numbers and in overall percentage of medical diagnoses. Dementia research has made major strides within the last decade, and this research growth is expected to continue. With this vast amount of dementia research, it is important to have resources that can aid in our quick acquisition of knowledge to assist us in patient care. Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias: A Practical Guide, Second Edition, is a succinct resource for this purpose, divided into 4 primary sections. Section 1 details the clinical assessment of dementia. Section 2 expands on the dementia subtypes; the chapters on mild cognitive impairment and dementia with Lewy bodies are exceptionally well written, providing the reader with a solid conceptual framework. Section 3 reviews the psychiatric conditions associated with dementia; the chapter on the treatment of agitation and psychosis is one that all clinicians should understand fully. Section 4 reviews the psychosocial issues in dementia care. The appendices provide a wealth of pocket-sized, 1-page summaries of dementia screen questions, dementia workup, cognitive screening for dementia, the clock drawing test, dementia evaluation tests, assessment and treatment of agitation and psychosis in dementia, delirium, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 guidelines, and depression assessment and treatment in dementia. Dr Agronin also includes a pocket card for caregiver assessment using the Mini-Burden Interview. The chapters use "essential concepts" boxes that provide a quick focus and "key point" boxes that provide concise pearls in the field of dementia assessment and management.

The most important attribute of this book is that it provides useful information that a busy clinician can employ in active clinical care of a patient with dementia. The book is well organized, with a contents outline and a subject index that can lead to the area of interest quickly. The appendices provide summary sheets that can be kept in one’s coat pocket to facilitate dementia evaluation or management. The author stresses the point of addressing target symptoms for the treatment approach; one must define the target symptoms for treatment and then proceed for the optimal outcome of treatment.

Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias: A Practical Guide, Second Edition, represents an excellent continuation of the Practical Guides in Psychiatry series. For someone who needs quick, useful information on the assessment and treatment of dementia, this is a highly recommended resource.

Frank W. Brown, MD

Author affiliation: Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Financial disclosure: None reported.


© Copyright 2009 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

Volume: 70

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