Case histories as a method of teaching have a long and venerable history since, despite their anecdotal and non-systematic nature, they are the idiom of clinical practice. This volume presents 34 cases seen by clinicians with an interest in disorders of cognitive function and is the successor volume to a collection of the same title with the same two editors published 10 years ago (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
Each case consists of 3 to 8 pages semi-structured as Case History, Past Medical History, Family History, Clinical Examination, Investigations, Discussion, and Take-Home Message(s), with appropriate illustrations of neuroimaging and, where available, neuropathology. The cases veer to the unusual, rather than the more typical fare of the cognitive clinic (no functional disorders here!), with rather more genetically determined cases than might be anticipated from experience in daily practice. The usual suspects are also here, including Alzheimer’s disease, the clinically and genetically heterogeneous forms of the frontotemporal dementias, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and prion disease. An Appendix draws together the diagnostic criteria for many of these disorders.
The book is well presented, like its predecessor, and will hopefully be of help both to those starting out in cognitive neurology and for more experienced clinicians wanting a refresher. That said, the reference lists contain nothing published more recently than 2018. A case of posterior cortical atrophy doesn’t even allude to the diagnostic criteria of 2017, although they are included in the Appendix. So what happened in the interim prior to publication in 2021? Apparently not any type of copy editing by authors or editors, or how else to explain the pervasive errors. Some selected typos: “c09orf75” (Pxiii); “MRI FAIR imaging” (P19); “cerebral amyloid antipathy (CAA)” (sic! P23); “commodities” for comorbidities (P27); “persevere” for perseverate (P92); “Olczewski” for Olszewski (P93); “nycturia” for nocturia (P101); “free-radial damage” for free radical damage (P107); “cortical sensory myoclonus” for cortical sensory deficit (P155). There are also simple arithmetical errors in addition of cognitive test scores (P1 and 26), misnumbering of references (Case 4), and a whole paragraph describing neuroimaging has apparently been omitted in Case 15 (P70). Other issues troubled me: Is there a “unique gait disturbance” in iNPH (P128)? It would presumably be easier to diagnose if this were so. I’m still trying to get my head around reference to “in vivo post mortem validation studies” (P28; should this read “in vivo and post mortem validation studies”?), and what is one to make of “in a memory clinic, 12% of individuals with dementia were younger than 65. Among them, the most frequent diagnostic was MCI followed by AD and FTD.” (P147). One expects better, particularly in a purportedly didactic text.