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The Prefrontal Cortex: Anatomy, Physiology, and Neuropsychology of the Frontal Lobe, 3rd ed.
Reviewed by RUTH SPINKS, PH.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2000;157:1038-1038. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.157.6.1038
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By Joaquin M. Fuster. Philadelphia, Lippincott-William & Wilkins, 1997, 320 pp., $83.00.

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The third edition of Dr. Fuster’s book lives up to the standards set by the first and second editions, providing a comprehensive, informative overview of the frontal lobe. The third edition extends the previous editions to include more human neuropsychology and functional neuroimaging.

The introduction provides a framework for the rest of the book. The intervening chapters discuss cortical anatomy, chemical neurotransmitters, animal lesion studies, neuropsychology, and neuroimaging. The final overview chapter provides a theoretical framework of frontal lobe functioning. Throughout the chapters, the author complements the basic research review with an overview of a particular structural or chemical function in a clinical disorder. Among the disorders briefly discussed in the book are schizophrenia, dementia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.

Each chapter is organized in a similar fashion, starting with early processes of sensory perception and attention and moving toward more downstream functions such as movement, memory, and intelligence. Each chapter also contains sections on development and involution that prove invaluable in creating a well-rounded perspective of each of the major areas of frontal lobe research. The order of the chapters systematically constructs a more and more complex picture of the prefrontal cortex, building from cellular to more modular units. The standardized structure of each chapter makes the entire book easier to integrate. The concise, informative summary at the end of each chapter further reinforces the information provided and serves as a quick reference to those who have already read the book.

Once again Dr. Fuster has provided a comprehensive, integrated, up-to-date overview of an extremely complex structure. This book is a must for students as well as a highly recommended reference for both the neuropsychologist and the cognitive neuroscientist.

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