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Understanding Neurology
  1. Gonzalo Alvarez
  1. Neurology Unit, Hospital del Salvador, Santiago, Chile; redpin64{at}

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Edited by John D W Greene and lan Bone. Published by Manson Publishing, £24.95 (paperback), 240 pages. ISBN 978–1–84076–061–3

When reading a textbook, people generally want answers to very specific questions or are seeking information on specific topics. That is what they go for. Few bother with the preface, which is generally omitted. This ought not to be the case with this textbook, since the philosophy which guided the authors—and hence how best to profit from it—is clearly set out there. The same applies to the very short introduction, where a fact as large as a cathedral, very pertinent to the objective of this book, is stated: more and more complex technology is being resorted to by clinicians, especially younger ones, at the expense of basic, indispensable skills—the physical examination and, in particular, history taking, which take second place. When these founding rocks of clinical medicine are neglected, the patients come to grief. This must be the lament of every senior clinician everywhere, so this textbook, which is based on relying on those skills, is welcome.

Various audiences will find this original and thoughtful book useful, from undergraduates to neurology trainees, and indeed even experienced consultant neurologists with established interests in a subspecialty will come to no harm in reading about a subspecialty distant from their own.

The taking of the history is competently set out, even if one may wonder why the age of the patient at first encounter is not referred to; it conditions the examiner …

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