The author indicates that this book was written for either upper division undergraduates or early year graduate education, or perhaps for the clinician without prior training or education in neuropsychology. As such, it was written to fill the gap between physiological psychology or biopsychology undergraduate texts and the more intense empirically driven graduate texts (Kolb & Whishaw, 2009). It was designed to match the curriculum for a typical 16–18-week semester. Given there are 18 chapters, covered within an academic week, the material within those chapters provides a cursory explanation of its content. Case vignettes begin each chapter and these vignettes provide the reader an overview of the issues that will follow.
The initial section of the book covers the history of clinical neuropsychology, and then goes right into the basics of neural activity: the nervous system, neurodegenerative disorders, and acquired neuropathology. The author does a nice job integrating medical and philosophical views of behavior dating from the Neolithic period (the Stone Age) to current views. The current view includes the coverage of neuropsychology as a profession and issues within the profession. The second chapter jumps right into the nervous system—from structure to function. The neuron and the components of the cell itself are covered (briefly, but not too briefly). From the basic nerve cell, the author builds up the nervous system, structure by structure, system by system. Specific structures are named and known functions of each are provided. There are sufficient labeled figures of the brain that help the reader follow along and locate the structure. The next two chapters then take the reader from structure and function into pathology of those structures and functions. Chapter 3 gives the reader an overview of degenerative disorders, progressive disorders, cerebrovascular disorders, brain tumors, metabolic and endocrine disorders, and seizures. The case vignette opening the chapter piques the reader into what follows. An overview of the disorders of dementia and their differences begins, followed by the progressive disorders of the central nervous system. Figures include fMRI scans and histology slides. The fourth chapter covers the acquired disorders: traumatic brain injury, toxic conditions, neurotoxins (environmental and industrial), hypoxia, nutritional deficiencies, seizures, and infectious process. Beginning with a case vignette of neurotoxicity, the chapter allows the reader to learn that neural pathology can come not only from the inside but the outside (environment). The chapter covers the basics of head trauma and post-concussive syndromes, albeit briefly. Toxic conditions review alcohol and drugs commonly abused (methamphetamines, narcotics, cocaine, caffeine, etc.). The chapter ends with limited, but still pointed, coverage of HIV infection and aids.
The next major book division covers the practice aspects of clinical neuropsychology. Issues here include ethics and resources, interviewing, and testing. The fifth chapter reviews the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002) as related to the practice of neuropsychology. The chapter ends with a synopsis of issues in testing: gender, age, ethnicity, premorbid intelligence, and personality factors. The sixth chapter covers issues abounding in the interview process, then leads the reader into understanding the interview as an opening round into the entire assessment process. Both structured and semi-structured interviews are covered in the chapter. The author takes the reader from the interview into the testing process, starting with the measurement of intellectual abilities. Again, beginning with a case vignette, the author introduces the reader into the major areas and issues that follow. Chapter 7 opens with a cursory review of test construction and the history of intelligence testing. Validity and reliability are introduced as key factors in the testing process. Major tests of intelligence (i.e., Binet and Wechsler Scales) set up the coverage of the tests including subtests within each. Following the tests of intelligence, Chapter 8 walks the reader through the tests of memory functioning (recall, retrieval, attention, etc.). It opens with a brief review of the types of memory, and then introduces the major tests of memory (i.e., Wechsler Memory Scales, Memory Assessment Scale, etc.). Chapter 9 presents the assessment process as consisting of the use of a neuropsychological test battery. Focus in the chapter is on the Halstead–Reitan Neuropsychological Battery but also covers the Luria–Nebraska Neuropsychological Battery, the Boston Process Approach, and the Kaplan Baycrest assessment, the Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System, the Dean–Woodcock Battery, and the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB). The battery tests are given, along with brief synopses of what that subtest measures. The book division ends with differential diagnosis (Chapter 10). In this chapter, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 2004) briefly covered. Sections on each Axis are included.
The third division of the text covers various forms of rehabilitation: cognitive and memory rehabilitation, individual and family therapy, ending with psychopharmacology. Chapter 11 opens the division with coverage of prognosis and treatment planning. Issues covered within this chapter include premorbid patient factors, patient expression of difficulties, recovery enhancements, and forensic issues. Chapter 12 opens with coverage of the basic assumptions and models, including efficacy and outcome. Stressing empirically based outcome models, the chapter highlights attention process-based training, compensatory strategies, environmental supports, and psychosocial supports as major domains of rehabilitation. These four models are then nested into the major areas of dysfunction: memory, dysexecutive syndromes, and unawareness/neglect. Chapter 13 introduces the undergraduate to topic of individual psychotherapy. A brief review of the theories of psychotherapy covers such areas as psychodynamic models to behavioral modification models. The chapter does incorporate issues involved in providing individual psychotherapy as rehabilitation for those who have experience brain damage or suffer from brain disease, including emotional dyscontrol, loss of awareness, and being easily distracted. The following chapter (Chapter 14) covers family or group therapy for the brain impaired. The chapter integrates ethical issues found within family therapy nested within a brain injury rehabilitation setting (confidentiality, reporting needs, etc.). This book division ends with Chapter 15, focusing on psychotropic medication in clinical neuropsychology. This chapter provides the reader with an overview of the history of psychopharmacology, a synopsis of the process used to bring medication to the marketplace. The material within the chapter covers antidepressant and antianxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications.
The final book division is on specific areas (pediatric and geriatric) within neuropsychology and ends with the author's view of the future of neuropsychology. This chapter (16), pediatric neuropsychology, gives the reader a basic primer on child development. Included with physical development are sections on moral, cognitive, social, and emotional development. The author then nests a section on acquired central nervous system difficulties to demonstrate how such acquired impairment impacts all aspects of child development. The author then ends the chapter with material covering genetic disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, learning disabilities, and ADHD. The chapter focusing on geriatric neuropsychology (Chapter 17) begins with a general review of aging and theories of aging. The author concludes the text with a picture of the future of clinical neuropsychology (Chapter 18). Here, the author highlights education and training changes in neuropsychology (the board certification approach), changes in healthcare reimbursement and access to health care, demographic changes (which may then require restandardization of instruments currently used) and also require integration of multicultural issues, and forensic issues (i.e., Daubert and the Halstead–Reitan Battery).
Overall, the book reaches the author's goal of providing a link between undergraduate biopsychology or physiological psychology texts. To reach this goal, the book must then give only general information on a variety of topics. This is done by giving very limited information (e.g., brain structure name or through limited coverage of topics [dementia, etc.]). However, it must be kept in mind that the author never intended the book to be major reference source. Rather, it is intended to be used within a 16–18-week semester. Thus, the chapters are brief (most average about 20 pages) but still they provide sufficient information for the reader to learn about clinical neuropsychology. The chapters on psychotherapy are interesting and seem to be generalized reviews pertinent to an introductory course in psychotherapy. The sections on pediatrics and geriatrics did not cover information more relevant and pertinent to the current trends. This seems a shortcoming in a textbook. The section on neuropsychological tests includes information from outdated manuals, some from 10 years ago. Since the text is new, updating those would have been expected. Finally, the section on test batteries is too narrowly focused upon the Halstead–Reitan.
This book will not be of interest to those with graduate education and training in neuropsychology. It will be of interest and value to those who teach at the undergraduate level, or even for those who teach at the terminal Master's degree level (but only as a primer). Keeping clinical neuropsychology simple enough to be taught at the undergraduate level is not easy, to that end, compliments to the author.