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Oxford Textbook of Neurorehabilitation – Second edition

Posted in Book Reviews on 22nd Sep 2021

Edited by: Volker Dietz and Nick S. Ward
Published by: OUP Oxford; 2nd edition
Price: £145
Pages: 560
ISBN: 0198824955
Reviewed by: Dr Mo Hu, Neurology ST7, Rookwood Hospital, Cardiff

The weakness of academic textbooks is the fear that the evidence can date quickly. However, despite the temptation for clinicians to dip into a phone or laptop for the most up to date information, there is still something satisfying about thumbing through a huge textbook, especially one emblazoned with the expensive green ink of Oxford Street on the Monopoly board.

The study of patients with long-term neurological injury has long been the driving force behind neuroscientific research, and yet Neurorehabilitation as a discipline is still striving for a strong evidence base to its practice. This substantial text provides the most comprehensive review of contemporary research in the area. The range of international collaborators contributing to the book reflects its potentially wide readership, and the various specialists involved in the science and practice of rehabilitation.

The book takes us on a pleasant meander, from chapters on traditional animal studies and theoretical models to more clinically pertinent aspects of Neurorehabilitation through discussions of modern techniques and contemporary research. The text is helpfully broken down into five major sections – General aspects of neurorehabilitation, Physiological consequences of CNS damage, Neuroplasticity and repair, Clinical concepts and Technical concepts. Some chapters are more concise than others, but they all include well-rounded discussions of complex ideas. As expected, we are provided with reminders of basic science and neuroanatomy. Other discussions are more surprising, such as those on music therapy, virtual reality, vocational rehabilitation and clinical trial design. Discourse on ageing populations, the burden of stroke and approaches to functional neurological disorders reflect changing population demographics, and the current landscape of clinical practice. The authors espouse translational research throughout and manage to tread a fine line between, balancing theory with practice.

Unlike the Oxford handbooks, this book is too unwieldy for the ward round, and its physical heft matches its price tag. Illustrations are used somewhat sparingly and some parts of the text take some wading through. However, for the specialist, whether established or at an early stage of training, this is a great resource with plenty of interesting forays into the various fields of the Neurorehabilitation that make it such an intricate and stimulating speciality.