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Book Review

Neurology for the Non-Neurologist, 6th ed

Darren Volpe, MD, and Huned S. Patwa, MD

Published: October 24, 2011

Neurology for the Non-Neurologist, 6th ed

edited by William J. Weiner, MD; Christopher G. Goetz, MD; Robert K. Shin, MD; and Steven L. Lewis, MD. Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, 2010, 638 pages, $69.95 (paper).

Neurology for the Non-Neurologist has been an excellent resource for practicing physicians, medical students, and residents since its first edition in 1982. "All editions’ ¦have been anchored in an ongoing commitment to demystify neurology, so that its principles and ever-growing knowledge base are accessible to nonspecialists" (p ix). So state the editors in the preface, and the sixth edition of this book is successful in continuing this tradition. It continues to provide an easy-to-read, practical approach to neurology with a consistent format in each chapter. In recent years, many internal medicine and psychiatry residency programs have identified a need to expand their neurology training, which underscores the importance of texts such as this to serve as a reference for inpatient and outpatient neurologic problems.

The book begins with a review of the most important aspects of a basic neurologic examination and includes diagrams to review sensory dermatomes and tables to summarize testing of strength and reflexes. This sets the foundation for the importance of the examination in helping to localize a neurologic lesion. The next 2 chapters are well crafted to guide the clinician in the basic categorization of neurologic symptoms (chapter 2) and in the appropriate use of neurologic diagnostic tests (chapter 3). These are followed by a concise review of neuroradiology to further underscore the goal of lesion localization—usually, the non-neurologist sees only a radiology report, and this chapter offers the clinician a visual correlation to commonly encountered CNS lesions. These initial chapters should allow the reader to have an organized, practical approach to any patient with neurologic issues.

Chapters 5-28 cover the most commonly seen neurologic disorders in both the inpatient and outpatient settings and updated approaches to treatment. Each chapter highlights "Special Clinical Points" that serve as a quick reference to the well-chosen pearls culled from the text. Toward the end of most chapters are sections that cover when a neurologic patient should be hospitalized and/or referred to a neurologist or other specialist. Chapters end with an "Always Remember" text box with bullet points summarizing the most important pathological, clinical, diagnostic, and treatment considerations. For further assimilation and synthesis, this box is followed by several multiple-choice questions and answers for self-study. In future editions, more anatomic figures and illustrations (such as those in chapter 26 on eye signs) would be helpful in establishing visual aids to the localization of each disease covered.

This edition has added a chapter on falls ("An Approach to the Falling Patient"), which will be quite helpful to clinicians in both the emergency room and the outpatient setting. As housestaff are acutely aware, falls are a common chief complaint in the emergency room and a frequent cause for hospital admission. The chapter includes an excellent table and flowchart that outline an organized, systematic diagnostic approach. It should be noted that, in many cases, the differentiation between gait abnormalities remains challenging and should prompt a referral to a neurologist.

Neurology for the Non-Neurologist is an excellent resource for common neurologic problems. It can serve either as a quick reference when needed in the clinic or as a more detailed study to help "demystify" neurology. It is highly recommended to the medical student, resident, or seasoned physician who seeks a practical approach to the most commonly encountered neurologic diseases.

Darren Volpe, MD

Huned S. Patwa, MD

Author affiliations: VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 72

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