by Robert H. Paul, PhD, Ronald Cohen, PhD, Brian R. Ott, MD, Stephen Salloway, MD, 372 pp, with illus, $145, ISBN 1-58829-366-1, Totowa, NJ, Humana Press, 2004.
If performed well, teaching can be a humbling experience. Trying to explain the current state of a controversial field and responding to even apparently simple questions from inquisitive students can quickly reveal astounding gaps in our knowledge. In the field of dementia, nothing illustrates this as clearly as having to explain vascular dementia (VaD). While many textbooks of neurology indicate VaD as the second leading cause of dementia, journal articles and medical conferences debate the clinical criteria for diagnosis, pathological definition of the disorder, pathophysiological mechanisms, its prevalence, and even the very existence of the disorder. Thus, a clear, well-conceived and well-executed compendium of current thinking on the topic has a lot to offer. Given the state of the field, we obviously cannot expect such a volume to answer all of the existing questions, but to at least summarize the current state of knowledge and frame the important gaps. In this respect, the book does a very good job.
Jagust W. Vascular Dementia: Cerebrovascular Mechanisms and Clinical Management. Arch Neurol. 2005;62(6):1019-1020. doi:10.1001/archneur.62.6.1019