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Book Forum: Textbooks and Handbooks   |    
American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 4th ed. ? Essentials of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
DAVID W. HODO, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:636-636. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.3.636
View Author and Article Information
Selma, Ala.

Edited by Stuart C. Yudofsky, M.D., and Robert E. Hales, M.D., M.B.A. Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Publishing, 2002, 1,404 pp., $241.95. • Edited by Stuart C. Yudofsky, M.D., and Robert E. Hales, M.D., M.B.A. Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Publishing, 2004, 770 pp., $69.00 (paper).

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The goal of these two large edited textbooks, with many contributors, is to present broad overviews of the bulging information based on the neural basis of behavior, alternately viewed as "neuropsychiatry and behavioral neurology." For the Textbook, this represents a 15-year, fourth-edition evolution. Essentials is a newer, briefer, synoptic effort. Both are well-conceived, crisply written efforts useful as a general discussion of this hybrid science and as a resource on individual subjects. There is a reasonably successful argument toward synthesis with board certification, and there is organization, both essentials to cohesion and recognition. There is obviously an unending struggle for the soul and rights to the brain and its behavioral constitution among psychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists, neurophysiologists, geneticists, etc. There is also the ever-present devil, compensation. Psychiatrists must weave the science of their field into an effective force for comprehension and effective treatment to find a reputable and equal, if not preeminent, place in modern medicine. Is the psychiatric M.D. equal to other medical degrees? Can psychiatrists "deliver the mail"? These two volumes speak eloquently to the notion that psychiatry is a real science, with neuropsychiatry a subspecialty.

Dr. Yudofsky and Dr. Hales have long labored in the field. The contributors—88 in the Textbook and 46 in Essentials—are impressive, leaders in their respective areas and representing multiple disciplines.

Each chapter of both textbooks speaks to some essential area of a neural substrate of human development with its social and physical activity. Some areas, such as aphasia and delirium, are more closely associated with neurology but are open to a more psychiatric approach. Others, such as schizophrenia, seek neurological underpinnings. You can imagine the dendrites seeking new connections.

Two chapters that are most pleasingly done are the long chapter on genetics and the short chapter on attention in the Textbook. These two subjects are dominant areas of modern interest. Both chapters are superbly written. There is apt praise for the radiological advances that produced the current excitement in the understanding of the brain at work. These images, beautifully pictured in both books, have become important substrates in the understanding and treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions not only with medication but with cognitive efforts as well.

These companion volumes are important, timely, and comprehensive efforts. The Textbook is the more appealing volume. The breadth of the subject seems to cry for a more in-depth perusal. Essentials is also quite appealing, succinct, adequate to the task, and a lot lighter. These books are to be highly recommended to all physicians as well as to the general public interested in these subjects. The interest in how the brain works, from National Public Radio to friends without any scientific training, seems to be growing as the field explodes. These books corral the knowledge admirably and present it in an organized, understandable form.

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