Crash Course: Neurology

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Summary of review

One placement I was dreading above all this year was neurology. I had somehow struggled through the semester on the normal anatomy and physiology of the brain, and now I only had a couple of weeks to understand the diseases of the brain and their management. In anticipation I took a quick look at the book in the library a couple of weeks before I was meant to start the module, left the library, went online and bought the book.

                In my personal opinion this book is the only book someone should buy when doing their neurology at medical school. It is clear, easy to read and there are great little summary boxes, as well as several boxes with useful tips that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. Although called ‘Crash course’, this book doesn’t just rush through topics; the detail level is comparable to that of Kumar & Clark or other massive textbooks. However in comparison to those books, it is presented in a form that is easier to take in, and (let’s be honest) the book is far lighter, and can be taken into placements/libraries etc with ease.
                There are self/assessment questions too, which are great for making sure you have retained what information you have learned, and there are multiple question formats, ensuring that whatever type of test you have coming up, you have some practice. The answers to the questions have a quick explanation with them, which is good as often you just find a list of right answers leaving you wondering what questions you got right and what you didn’t.
                Despite all the plusses however, there are a few areas I think future editions could improve on. There are some diagrams present, however I feel there just aren’t enough, and in a subject as complex as neurology, I feel a few more diagrams would help my recall of the anatomy and physiology no end. As well as this, when you are examining a patient, it is always a good idea to know what you are looking for, and although it may be explained very well in the text, a photo to refer to would just add that little bit extra.
                As well as this the organisation of the book is confusing! There are clearly laid out sections, so it is easy to navigate, but some of the basic principles, like how to take a neurological history/examination are hidden away at the back of the book, and symptoms are in the front, and diseases in the middle. Were I just to sit down and read this book cover to cover, the most useful order would be the basics at the beginning, the conditions in the middle, and then you can use this information to help understand what patients present with and why.
                These negatives don’t take much away from the book though; I would have a lot more difficulty during my neurology placement without it, and will most certainly keep it for reference for the future! Whether you buy it for yourself, or borrow it from the library this book is a must have.



Review by Paddy Green
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