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October 16, 1987

Diseases of the Nervous System: Clinical Neurobiology

Author Affiliations

University of Chicago

University of Chicago


vols 1 & 2, edited by Arthur K. Asbury, Guy M. McKhann, and W. Ian McDonald, 1900 pp, 750 illus, $160 set, Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1986

JAMA. 1987;258(15):2135-2136. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400150127049

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It is important to recognize that the subtitle of this set of two handsomely bound and printed volumes comes closer to characterizing it than its title. The clinician who samples it briefly without being aware of this is likely to come away bemused, perhaps even offended. The neurological examination and the standard diagnostic techniques of clinical neurology are not covered, and short shrift is given to such matters as the natural history of disease entities. As for clinical judgment—which, though not imparted by any book, is implicitly recognized in the traditional text—it is here ignored by the terse, sometimes flow-sheet-formatted expositions of diagnosis and treatment.

One amusing, surely unintentional reflection of the true focus of this book appears in a passage concerned with normal-pressure hydrocephalus. Here, in view of the impossibility of distinguishing the ventricular enlargement in this disorder from that of degenerative disease, it is announced in an unthinking