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Book Forum: Neuropsychiatry and Neurology   |    
Disorders of Brain and Mind
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:671-671. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.4.671
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Baltimore, Md.

Edited by Maria A. Ron and Anthony S. David. New York, Cambridge University Press, 1998, 373 pp., $90.00; $44.95 (paperback published 2000).

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The recent increase in appreciation of the role that the brain plays in psychiatry, coupled with advances in neuroscience, brain imaging, and pharmacology, has led to an explosion of information on the interplay of brain and mind in the expression of psychiatric disorders. Pertinent research over the past two decades has been of two types. On the one hand is study of the psychiatric and psychological manifestations of coarse brain diseases or damage to specific brain regions as well as conditions closely linked to the brain, such as cognitive disorders and amnesia. On the other hand is careful study of the brains of patients with major psychiatric illnesses, particularly schizophrenia and the mood disorders, using a variety of modalities.

Disorders of Brain and Mind is a compilation of much of the research in these areas. The book contains seven sections, each with two chapters. The first section is on frontal lobes and neuropsychiatry. Its chapters are on the neuropsychology of the frontal lobes and on frontal lobe structural abnormalities in schizophrenia. The second section is on basal ganglia in neuropsychiatry; the first chapter is on the neuropsychology of basal ganglia disorders, and the second is on the behavioral pharmacology of brain dopamine systems with implications for schizophrenia. The next section is on memory and its disorders. Once again, there is a chapter on neuropsychology of memory and amnesia. The second chapter in this section is on clinical neuropsychological studies of patients with amnestic disorders. Next is a section on brain disease and mental illness, which has one chapter on the psychiatric manifestations of demonstrable brain disease and one on structural brain imaging and the psychoses. The section that follows is on epilepsy; one chapter is on behavior in chronic experimental epilepsies and the other is a conceptual paper regarding the behavior disorders of epilepsy. A section on schizophrenia follows with both chapters expanding on the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia. The final section, Imaging Brain and Mind: Old and New Approaches, includes one chapter that discusses magnetic resonance spectroscopy in neuropsychiatry and another that discusses the hallucination as a disorder of brain and mind.

Overall, this book is quite well written, thorough, and well founded empirically. In fact, the reference lists at the end of each chapter are very comprehensive. The chapters are all well balanced in their strengths, but the chapter by David and Busatto on the hallucination is an especially well-written integration of psychiatric phenomenology and neuroscience. It nicely illustrates the complex reasoning that will be necessary in future explorations of the relationship between brain and mind.

Disorders of Brain and Mind is a very important book, despite its small weaknesses in conceptualization and integration of the topic and the occasional duplication or even slight contradiction in content, typical of an edited book. Its major strength is that it is a comprehensive "state of the field" review of the interface between brain and mind. Although the philosophical issues of the mind-brain problem are not addressed directly, the book’s empirical nature is quite satisfying. The book is also presented in a way that helps the reader appreciate the complexities of the issues at hand as well as some of the advances that have recently occurred. For any psychiatrist, both clinical or academic, interested in the interface of brain and mind, this is a valuable book that can be read through quite easily as an update and can also be referred to from time to time. For students new to psychiatry, this volume might also serve as an introductory text. Neuroscientists who are looking for a rather thorough review of brain-behavior relationships in select disorders will also find this book of interest.




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