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Book Forum: Neuropsychiatry   |    
Neuropsychological Assessment in Clinical Practice: A Guide to Test Interpretation and Integration
MANFRED SPITZER, M.D., PH.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:502-502. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.159.3.502
View Author and Article Information
Ulm, Germany

Edited by Gary Groth-Marnat. New York, John Wiley & Sons, 2000, 672 pp., $89.95.

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As stated in the preface, this book tries to provide a comprehensive guide to neuropsychology—and so it does! It is divided into four parts. General insights into neuropsychology and neurological syndromes are provided and the terminology behind neurological assessments are explained in the first part. This is accomplished by presentations of short and prototypical clinical descriptions of paradigmatic disorders. These descriptions are taken from the points of view of different clinical settings, such as a neurological hospital, a rehabilitation unit, a psychiatric practice, and a judicial context. These sample cases start with a short history, present results of neuropsychological assessments, and explain test results in relation to the patients’ medical condition and history. Therapeutic conclusions and a prognosis are derived from this information. In essence, the first section of the book emphasizes the importance of thorough history-taking and delivers concise insights into important neurological syndromes in which neuropsychological issues are particularly relevant.

The second part is centered around the description of the four major neuropsychological assessment batteries, namely, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale, the Wechsler Memory Scale, the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery, and the Luria Nebraska Neuropsychological Battery. The history and the development of each battery, including its subtests, are discussed, and practical instructions on how to administer and evaluate test results, how to use norms, and how to calculate correction factors for age and education are provided.

The third part examines in depth the assessment and evaluation of functional domains. It provides a comprehensive overview of tests with respect to important higher cognitive functions, such as attention, visuoconstructive abilities, executive function, and emotional processes. Starting with the neuroanatomical background, this section of the book also presents patients’ sample test results and provides normative data.

The fourth part is devoted to the integration of test results, treatment, and therapy planning. It culminates in a manual on how to report the neuropsychological results taken during clinical neuropsychological assessment. As in the previous chapters, this is done by presenting exemplary reports on patients.

The book is extremely readable and filled with illustrative stories. Readers who have not yet invested much time in the study of neuropsychology will not have problems following the author. Groth-Marnat does a very good job in catching the readers’ attention and keeping it. This book is not only for the neuropsychological novice, however. It provides the clinical practitioner with what is needed to update and deepen his or her understanding of the field.

If you are looking for a thorough introduction into neuropsychological assessment, test interpretation, and integration of neuropsychological test results, this book is well worth adding to your library. It may not be the right book if you are looking for a fast, in-depth reference in daily clinical routine, or if you are looking for a quick reference on the variety of neuropsychological tests. However, if you want a practitioner’s guide to practical test interpretation and integration, the book is definitely a very good choice.

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