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Book Forum: Neuropsychiatry   |    
Cognitive Deficits in Brain Disorders
Am J Psychiatry 2003;160:804-a-805. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.4.804-a
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London, U.K.

Edited by John E. Harrison, B.Sc., Ph.D., C.Psychol., and Adrian M. Owen, Ph.D. London, Martin Dunitz, 2002, 370 pp., $44.95.

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Why do so many things seem to happen after discussions in bars in Cambridge? Apparently, after complaining together over a drink about how difficult it was to recommend a textbook that covered cognitive dysfunction in neurological disease to their clinical colleagues, Drs. Harrison and Owen decided to try to fill an obvious gap in the market. Owen is probably more widely known in the neuroscience world than his co-editor, but the pair of them have chosen from among their research collaborators and, I assume, drinking partners a refreshingly youthful yet authoritative collection of contributors. An important further positive point is that all of the authors have had clinical contact with patients who have the disorders that they discuss.

The book broadly divides into two. First, the neuropsychological consequences of lesions to the temporal, frontal, parietal, and occipital lobes are each given a chapter full of detail from lesion studies, clinical case material, and neuroimaging studies. I would single out for particular attention the parietal lobe chapter, written by neurologist Masud Husain. This is as good as anything I have read in much larger and more expensive textbooks and will be my preferred reference for the area. In the second part of the book, cognitive dysfunction in some clearly neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, motor neuron disease, hydrocephalus, ruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysm, and tuberose sclerosis) and some perhaps less clearly neurological conditions (schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and autism) are considered. The book works well because although each of the chapters acts as a stand-alone up-to-date review, the comprehensive range of individual chapter subjects gives the volume a reassuring textbook character.

This is not a book to read from cover to cover but an accessible and informed companion that I will turn to when I need to try to fill the ever-widening knowledge gap between my neurological and psychiatric training and the currently exploding cognitive psychological research approach. The editors are to be congratulated because they certainly have produced a book that can be recommended to clinical colleagues looking for a cognitive neuropsychology textbook. I’m afraid that headaches are all I ever get from trips to bars, but perhaps I don’t go drinking often enough in Cambridge.




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