Neurologists are increasingly confronted with rating scales. Scales are now used frequently to assess outcomes in clinical studies. Critical reading of the neurologic literature often requires familiarity with a scale appropriate to the clinical problem. For example, many therapeutic trials in Parkinson disease rely on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale. Scales are also being used to document and communicate issues of patient care. Thus, the Kurtzke Extended Disability Scale might be used to assess a patient with multiple sclerosis and to document for a health insurance carrier the propriety of β-interferon therapy for the patient. In his Handbook of Neurologic Rating Scales, Robert Herndon has provided a valuable service to researchers and clinicians. The book is a well-organized reference to scales used to assess pediatric development, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, dementia in the elderly, stroke, outcomes of traumatic brain injury, quality of life in epilepsy, and outcomes of rehabilitation. Each chapter is prepared by experienced clinical researchers, and each follows a uniform organization discussing the purposes of the scales, their validity, details of administration, the actual scales, and an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the scales. The chapters are remarkable for their uniform quality and organization in a multiauthor text. As an added bonus, a floppy disk comes with the book, allowing the user to access the rating scales with a word processor. I would have appreciated a brief set of instructions on use of the disk. Other than this quibble, I found this an excellent book. I think I will use it frequently as a reference both as I read the literature and as a means to improve documentation of patient care.
Handbook of Neurologic Rating Scales. Arch Neurol. 1999;56(3):367. doi:
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