One often wonders if it is worth buying a second edition of any textbook let alone a neuroanatomy textbook, upon receiving the second edition of Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases by Hal Blumenfeld, MD, PhD the answer is an enthusiastic YES! Students of neuroanatomy often complain about the dryness of the subject and the difficulties they encounter when trying to memorize all the terms, areas and connections. This book provides excellent solutions to both of these issues. The book is organized in a standard fashion around holistic systems (eg. Chapter 7: Somatosensory Pathways, Chapter 11: Visual System) and where appropriate anatomical areas (eg. Chapter 15: Cerebellum), but embedded within each chapter are helpful mnemonics too help the student master the necessary material.
In order to bring the material to life Dr. Blumenfeld has collected an enormous (expanded since the first edition) amount of relevant clinical cases that he encountered while serving as Neurologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital. These real world cases (>100 are detailed) and the associated clinical documentation (MRI's, CT scans, blood work....) provide immediate clinical relevance for the anatomy covered in each chapter. Traditionally these two concepts (anatomy and clinical correlations) are often treated as almost distinct topics and it is refreshing to see them treated in parallel in such a comprehensive manner. The clinical cases reinforce the need to understand the underlying anatomy and for each case questions are asked that help direct the reader to determining the site of the lesion/disorder. Many books that concentrate on clinical correlations treat the anatomy as almost an afterthought and that is certainly not the case here with detailed schematics, drawings and images showing all the relevant and necessary anatomy. Another highlight is the inclusion of high quality neuroradiological images to complement the traditional gross sections. In the hospital setting most physicians are confronted by neuroanatomy via CT scans or MRIs and the heavy inclusion of this material make this book a must read not only for medical and graduate students but for residents and fellows as well.
Taking advantage of new media there is an online supplement [...]that emphasizes the clinical cases and how the site of lesions can be determined using the standard neurological exam. Throughout the text (including a dedicated chapter) there are clear examples of Dr. Blumenfeld conducting the neurological exam that are relevant to the anatomical area detailed in the chapter. For the student there are study guides at the end of each chapter to make sure important details are learned. Well organized additional readings are suggested by topic for all the important issues covered in the preceding chapter.
As the director of a Clinical Neuropsychology program I had enthusiastically recommended the first edition to our students and I will continue to do so for the new and improved second edition.