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Book Reviews

Posted in Book Reviews on 14th Jun 2016

Neuro-Oncology: The Essentials 3rd Edition

Author: Mark Bernstein and Mitchel S Berger
Published by: Thieme, 2014
ISBN: 9781604068832
Price: £117
Reviewed by: Mr James Walkden, Neuro-Oncology Fellow, Department of Neurosugery, The Walton Centre, Liverpool
Published online: 14/6/16


The 3rd Edition of this well known book series aims to give a concise overview of the ‘essential’ topics in neuro-oncology. The book is edited by two prominent North American neurosurgeons and the chapters are authored by leading experts in their field. The book is aimed mainly at neurosurgeons and neuro-oncologists at all stages of training and experience, as a reference resource. This edition of the series has added significantly to the previous versions with detailed chapters on intraoperative management, particularly neuronavigation and endoscopy.

The clear chapter layout makes it easy to gain an overview of a particular topic as required. The book starts with excellent concise chapters on tumour epidemiology and tumour genesis. It systematically builds through tumour imaging ultimately to specific insights on the more complex tumours. The chapters on low grade and high grade glioma dominate, as these represent the major tumours encountered in clinical practice. Other topics covered include the entire range of paediatric and spinal tumours, as well peripheral nerve tumours. The tumour genetics, chemotherapy and radiotherapy chapters are also extremely useful to Neurosurgeons and Neurologists of all grades who would wish to overview these important topics relevant to multidisciplinary management. There is a final detailed chapter covering seminal publications in Neuro-oncology: this is an excellent resource for all physicians.

This book adheres to its billing as an overview and resource tool; as such, discussion is kept brief and concise. The addition of an ‘Editor’s Note’ at the end of each chapter, describing the critical points, complements this overview approach very effectively. They are extremely well researched with clear referencing to peer reviewed literature. High quality graphics and intra-operative imaging also effectively add to the discussion of each tumour type. The illustrations in the metabolic, functional and stereotactic radiosurgery chapters in particular are of an exceptional standard.

The chapters pertaining to specific rare tumours are concise; they would not be a definitive guide to management. Discussion of controversies in management is also limited. Topics where the coverage is perhaps too brief are classification systems and genetic profiling in low grade glioma. For example, there is mention of important predictive classifications such as WHO Performance status and the RANO criteria in glioma. These criteria are probably well known by the experienced reader but more detail would be useful for junior residents attending Radiology and Oncology multidisciplinary meetings. The book was also somewhat weak in its exploration of neuro-oncological controversies, such as the management of recurrent high grade glioma.

These are minor issues and the book is a well written and easily readable overview of Neuro-oncology. While clearly relevant to trainees in Neurosurgery or Oncology, the book would earn a place on the bookshelf of any Consultant Neuro-oncological surgeon, as a reference and overview of any neurological tumour likely to be encountered. There is currently no other book of this quality offering such a detailed overview. For those with a subspecialist interest in Neuro-oncology, I would recommend the additional purchase of the excellent ‘Controversies in Neuro-Oncology’ also published by Thieme ,which complements this book and offers the reader full insight into the more controversial topics not covered by ‘the Essentials’.

Brain Neurotrauma: Molecular, Neuropsychological, and Rehabilitation Aspects
(Frontiers in Neuroengineering Series)

Edited by: Firas H Kobeissy
ISBN: 13:978-1-4665-6598-2
Published by: CRC Press
Price: $229.95
Pages: 697
Reviewed by: Dr Ganesh Bavikatte, Consultant Neuro Rehabilitation, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK.
Published online: 14/6/16


Brain Neurotrauma, edited by Dr Firas H. Kobeissy is a comprehensive textbook of molecular aspects of brain trauma. There are over 119 contributing authors from numerous renowned international centres. The volume is well laid-out and has eight sections, divided into 49 chapters. These cover in extensive detail the basic science, the experimental models and the neurorehabilitative management of patients following brain injury. There is good discussion of the mechanics of brain injury, of experimental brain injuries and brain recovery models, biomarkers and also the after-effects of brain injury. The book also gives insight into various potential treatments and various treatment targets for the future, providing a much needed ray of hope for the reader.

The book is a comprehensive guide to current knowledge of pathophysiology, and the molecular and clinical aspects of brain injury. There is an effort, largely successful, to cover all the aspects of traumatic brain injury causative models, neuromechanics, imaging, biomarkers, neurocognitive and neurobehavioural aspects, and potential targets to enhance recovery following traumatic brain injury. The sections on the after-effects of mild brain injuries and sports injuries were very helpful additions. Neuro-rehabilitation and neuroprotection strategies such as non-invasive stimulation of brain or cranial nerves are especially interesting to me as a neuro-rehabilitation physician, and to my multidisciplinary team colleagues.

Clinicians will be enlightened to read about nanopeptides, roles for stem cells and the effects of comorbid conditions on recovery patterns following brain injury. In these cutting-edge topics, the comprehensive referencing is of course especially useful.

The clinician in search of enlightenment might have been helped along, however, if the authors had made more use of tables, colours and diagrams to illustrate the complex information. On the one hand, the book benefits from having so many contributors of high repute but, almost inevitably, their areas of expertise overlap and so too does the content of their chapters. For readers, wishing a quick read-through, this repetition would be a disadvantage. Conversely, the fact that each chapter is really an essay that can be read on its own will suit many.

The text focuses strongly on veteran injury and is geographically limited to practice in the United States. Much of the content is universal, of course, but some discussion of global issues would have been welcome.

Overall, this book represents a great addition to existing resources and is a good reference source for neuroscientists, neurorehabilitation physicians, neurologists and neurosurgeons with a special interest in traumatic brain injury.

ACNR 2015;16(2):33.  Published online 14/6/16

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