Hong Kong J Psychiatry. 2002;12(1):23


Synopsis of Neuropsychiatry

Editors: Fogel BS, Schiffer RB, Rao SM.
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2000.
US$49.95; pp528; ISBN 0-683-30699-5

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With the rapid advancement in neuroscience, there is a press- ing need for psychiatrists and other medical professionals to keep up to date with the revolutionary theories about brain mechanism and its interactions with human behaviour. As the boundary between neurology and psychiatry becomes increasingly blurred, the emergence of neuropsychiatry as a specialty aims to re-orientate knowledge of aberrant human behaviour attributable to pathological brain mechanisms.

Synopsis of Neuropsychiatry, a summary of the parent volume, Neuropsychiatry, aims to provide an easy-to-read reference for a broad readership of multidisciplinary profes- sionals whose work involves the management of patients with neuropsychiatric disorders.

The book is divided into 3 sections. The f irst section provides the background of assessment methods and prin- ciples of treatment in neuropsychiatry. The f irst chapter by Mueller and Fogel gives a template of bedside neuropsychiatric examinations, consisting of a composite of important neurological, psychiatric, and neuropsychological examin- ations. The chapter on treatment discusses the use of drugs and other rehabilitation therapy in a wide range of neuropsychi- atric disorders. While the topic is essentially the backbone of the introduction, the content is generally of great practical value for practicing clinicians who want reference guides for treatment problems.

The second section, organised according to functional brain systems, is devoted to recent advances in basic neuro- science. The sheer volume of the rapidly advancing knowl- edge in basic brain mechanisms makes it hard for clinicians to keep abreast of the potential clinical applications. This section provides a concise overview of basic neuroscience. The division of the central nervous system into functional systems helps to guide the reader with clinical orientation. The language is relatively clear and the content is concise enough for easy assimilation.

The third section deals with common neuropsychiatric syndromes. Both classical neuropsychiatric disorders and topics of recent interest are covered. The chapter on white matter disorders by Filley provides a concise, up to date review of this area. The chapter on epilepsy by Trimble, Ring, and Schmitz gives a systematic overview on the neuro- psychiatric aspects of epilepsy. Although well recognised for a long time, the information is still of interest to both psychiatrists and neurologists.

As the editors state in the preface, the aim of this synopsis is to provide material with brevity, clarity, and complexity but remain suff iciently clear for clinicians of different disciplines. The broad coverage, however, is occasionally offset by a lack of specificity. Given the breath of knowledge in neuropsychiatry, this book should be of use to psychiatrists interested in a biological approach to treatment.

Dr Linda Lam Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Prince of Wales Hospital
Hong Kong

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