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Case studies in neurology for the house officer. By Stephen L. Hauser Lawrence P. Levitt and Howard L. Weiner Baltimore Williams & Wilkins 1986 256 pp illustrated $10

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Brief Reviews
Recent Introductory Neurological Textbooks
-A Comment
During recent months, w e have received a spate of
new books aimed at medical students beginning their
clinical neurological studies. Each has its particular
merits, but we cannot help but wonder why there are
so many, though they all address slightly different aspects of the subject, as the following brief reviews
indicate. O n e suspects that in the present crowded curricula, neurologists find themselves becoming an endangered species, hard put during the early curriculum
to get the student’s time, much less draw his or her
attention. Furthermore, the teacher often discovers
that what most interests the faculty (teaching pathophysiology and a painstaking clinical examination) contrasts sharply with what attracts the average student,
overstuffed as the latter is with the new biology and
classic basic science. Add to these pitfalls the hunger of
publishers to publish almost anything they can get
their hands on, and the number of offerings becomes
so large that it is difficult to choose among them. T h e
results of all this is that each school composes its own
syllabus which eventually gets published. Perhaps in
some future nirvana when we accept that too many
neurologists are being trained, national meetings will
be held to consider how much clinical neurology the
modern general physician needs to learn and an effective text will be designed. Academic neurologists,
where art thou?
Fred Plum. M D
Basic Human Neuroanatomy: A n Introductory Atlas,
Third Edition
By C . Watson
Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1985
188 pp, illustrated, paperback, $1 8.00
An outline designed presumably for those medical students
who lack a suitable neuroanatomy textbook.
Case Studies in Neurology for the House Officer
By Stephen L. Hauser, Lawrence P. Levitt,
and Holuard L. Weiner
Baltimore, Williams 6 Wilkins, 1986
256 pp, illustrated, $1 0.95
Hauser and colleagues have prepared a case/problemoriented volume to accompany their Neurology j i r the House
Officer. This new installment is an enjoyable, timely, and accessible logbook of “great cases,” a portable “Professor’s
5 16
Rounds,” which provides concise case summaries, pertinent
laboratory data, and well-reproduced imaging studies (computed tomograms, angiograms, and myelograms). Following
the “presentation,” diagnostic clues are gleaned in questionand-answer format, and the concluding remarks consist of
the tabulated “pearls” which are illustrated by the case. Appropriate references to current and classic literature are also
provided. Representat.ive cases include “Sudden headache
and stiff neck in a college student” and “Headache, fatigue
and sudden blindness.” Certain topics are grouped in order
to promote comparisons “Two patients with ataxia,” “Three
young men with acute neurologic signs.” Clinical clerks and
house officers will enthusiastically welcome this opportunity
to expand vicariously their patient case diagnostic and therapeutic experience.
Diagnostic Decisions in Neurology
By Klaus Poeck
New York, Springer-Veriag, 1985
168 pp, no ilhstrations, $1 6.95
This is a problem-oriented, didactic text without illustrations
or references that is organized into 41 topicdcomplamts,
such as “Ptosis” and “Unilateral fits.” The differential diagnosis is presented in menu fashion, in descending order of
statistical likelihood. Each entry from the roster is discussed
in turn, with variable detail concerning the ancillary data
which should or could be sought in order to fully test the
hypotheses formed. While somewhat superficial for the
house officer, the text best provides for the consultant’s shelf
a ready reference that will deliver a “bullet” differential diagnosis for common clinical signs and symptoms. For the general physician, Poeck provides suitable delineation of the
“worst-case” scenarios, which would enable an expedient response. For the neurological subspecialist (epileptologist) or
clinician-scientist, this book provides excellent refresherreviews as guides to general neurological diagnostic investigations.
Essential Neurology
Edited by William Pryse-Phillips and T .J. Muway
New York, Elsevier Science Publishing Co., 1986
722 pp, illustrated
This is an ambitious, comprehensive text that is divided into
four sections: neurological assessment, localization, approach
to symptoms, and a disease-oriented survey of important
disorders. There is a thorough treatment of the neurological
examination, replete with many photographs, which vary in
their quality of reproduci:ion. A useful feature is the inclusion of an abridged “scanning” neurological examination
which is appropriate for surveying patients without neurological problems. Separate sections deal with modifications necessary for the special cases of infant, child, and elderly examinations. Likewise, a welcome inclusion are formal chapters
devoted to the comatose patient and to the patient suspected
of factitious illness. There is an excellent section on neurological investigation, although some of the illustrations suffer
from reproduction.
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levitt, house, illustrated, neurology, hauser, lawrence, 1986, howard, wilkins, william, weiner, office, case, stephen, 256, baltimore, studies
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