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Book Reviews
May 2004

The Brain Atlas: A Visual Guide to the Central Nervous System

Author Affiliations


Arch Neurol. 2004;61(5):804-805. doi:10.1001/archneur.61.5.804-b

by Thomas A. Woolsey, Joseph Hanaway, and Mokhtar H. Gado, 249 pp, with illus, $49.95, ISBN 0-471-43058-7, Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

The awaited second edition of this well-known atlas is a further improvement of an already versatile text. The first edition combined diagrams, photographs, and written notations in a concise fashion, which made it very user friendly.

The atlas is divided into 5 color-coded parts including an introduction, the central nervous system and its vessels, brain slices with vascular territories, histological sections with vascular territories, and neuronal pathways with a short synopsis. The introductory part contains basic data enhanced by illustrations, photographs, schematics, or combinations thereof that guide the book's use. Terminology, images, pathways, and labels are all covered. The final section of the introduction is titled "Materials and Methods" and describes in detail the way specimens, slices, and histological sections were prepared. It also touches on radiological images, mainly magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance angiography, and angiograms. The next 3 sections show the gross central nervous system in slices, including its histologic features. Labeling is profuse, making it easy to find the area of study. The index allows a more targeted approach to the search. The superimposed drawings, markings, and color coding make these sections particularly appealing. The locator icons on the outside upper corner of each page make it easier to visualize the area in the brain corresponding to each picture. The "Pathways" section is unique in its integration of actual anatomical cuts with colored tract depictions. The introductory paragraphs reveal the use of each pathway, and the extensiveness of the illustrations makes this atlas especially useful in comparison with the other anatomical books available. In this last section, all of the previous elements are weaved together into a functional picture of the central nervous system.

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