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Clinical Manual of Neuropsychiatry

edited by Stuart C. Yudofsky,, M.D., and Robert E. Hales, M.D., M.B.A. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2012, 447 pp., $79.00.

Reviewed by Hal S. Wortzel, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2013;170:1063-1064. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13020193
View Author and Article Information

The author reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Denver, Colo.
Dr. Wortzel is Director of Neuropsychiatric Services and Psychiatric Fellowship at the VISN 19 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Denver VA Medical Center, as well as Michael K. Cooper Professor of Neurocognitive Disease, Director of Neuropsychiatry Service, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver.

Accepted March , 2013.

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I had the opportunity to review the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences for the Journal a few years back. The task, commensurate with the size and scope of the textbook, was a bit intimidating and very labor intensive, albeit extremely rewarding. There remain few other sources representing well-written, comprehensive, and up-to-date textbooks of neuropsychiatry. In a perfect world, we could all read such a text from cover to cover. In reality, many psychiatrists will not be able to dedicate the time and resources required to undertake such a comprehensive study of neuropsychiatry, and for the neuropsychiatry uninitiate, the volume and density of information presented may prove a bit overwhelming. A companion volume, one that is shorter, more clinically focused, and more accessible to novices and that requires less of an investment in terms of time and money, would be a welcome follow-up. Thankfully, Yudofsky and Hales identified this need and provided us with the Clinical Manual of Neuropsychiatry.

At first glance, some might be inclined to describe the manual as an abridged version of the textbook preceding it. In actuality, this clinical manual is a very careful distillation of that textbook, with a watchful eye toward imparting information that is immediately deployable in clinical settings. This is not a resource for the basic neuroscientist, nor is it an up-to-date treatise on emerging research and its potential implications for neuropsychiatric practice. To the extent that research is discussed, its presentation is appropriately tailored to the manual’s clinical focus, emphasizing the evidence base for assessments and/or therapies for neuropsychiatric conditions. This is the nuts and bolts, cut-to-the-chase clinical version of the reference textbook that is accessible to clinicians and expedient in its delivery of clinically useful content.

The manual consists of 12 chapters, starting with two excellent primers on the subjects of neuropsychological evaluation and neuroimaging in neuropsychiatry. Next come eight chapters dedicated to specific neuropsychiatric syndromes/disorders, including delirium, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, cerebrovascular disorders, brain tumors, HIV infection of the CNS, dementias associated with motor dysfunction, and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementing illnesses. The manual concludes with two treatment-oriented chapters: one on psychopharmacology for neuropsychiatric disorders and the other on cognitive rehabilitation and behavioral therapies. Like the clinical manual itself, each of the chapters is considerably shorter and more rapidly accessible than the analogous chapter in the textbook. The book itself, with its relatively small size, light weight, and soft cover, is far more convenient as a traveling companion across practice sites for clinicians on the go.

The audience for this clinical manual is quite broad. All of its readers will find it a practical reference on the evaluation and management of neuropsychiatric problems encountered in many clinical settings. Students, residents, and/or neuropsychiatry novices at various stages of general psychiatric careers will find the clinical manual to be an enjoyable introductory neuropsychiatry text. They are likely to appreciate the clinical orientation of this volume and the manner in which it transmits knowledge that is useable in everyday practice. The manual will undoubtedly compel many of its readers to pursue additional readings and to delve deeper into the field. More experienced neuropsychiatrists will appreciate the concise and up-to-date clinical refresher offered by the manual and may wish to use it as a complement to other in-depth neuropsychiatric resources and as a vehicle for teaching neuropsychiatry to trainees and other professionals.

Sometimes less is more. This is particularly true when it comes to continuing educational needs of busy clinicians faced with ever-expanding requisite knowledge bases. The Clinical Manual of Neuropsychiatry is an excellent educational tool for such instances, true to its name and intended purpose.

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