March 28, 1986

Clinical Neuropsychiatry

Author Affiliations

Neuropsychiatric Institute UCLA School of Medicine Los Angeles


by Jeffrey L. Cummings, 264 pp, $44.50, New York, Grune & Stratton, 1985.

JAMA. 1986;255(12):1637. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370120115037

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This book could easily have been called "Differential Diagnosis in Clinical Neuropsychiatry," for it describes and considers the causes of the varieties of mental dysfunctions. It is particularly suitable for the psychiatrist and psychologist because it approaches mental disorders from a neurological viewpoint, reminding us, and in many instances teaching us, that psychiatric illness can be mimicked by many neuroanatomic disorders.

The volume is full of tables, perhaps a hundred, which sort out the multiple etiologies of psychic states: depersonalization, hallucinations, delusions, depressions, and so forth. In addition, the neurological aspects of schizophrenia, mood, and personality disorders are clarified.

At times there is room for disagreement. Is "writer's cramp" more likely to be a segmental dystonia, a learned disturbance of behavior, or a simple phobia? The author is more inclined to think of it as a focal dystonia that may progress to a generalized dystonia musculorum deformans in some cases.