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Haines Neuroanatomy: An Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems is another one of those amazing must-have books that can be reliably purchased going into first year medical school. Unlike the differing opinions regarding, general anatomy atlases, this really is the best neuroanatomy textbook for medical school. It is important to differentiate this from a reading-intensive book from which one would use to sit down and learn new concepts. This is a picture atlas with complementary text specifically relevant to the images, not a text-heavy resource. Its purpose is not to teach new function, but to provide a structural neurology road map along the fibers of the brain and spinal cord, which it accomplishes very well. Similarly, it is rather difficult to discern the neurology (or general anatomy) structures and pathways just by reading text. The use of Haines Neuroanatomy Atlas is best used in conjunction with your first year med school Neurology class syllabus and lectures, to specifically prepare you for neurology lab and the exam. The gold standard of human anatomy, Netter’s Anatomy Atlas (reviewed here), is used in the exact same way.
The atlas features a very clear layout of the spinal cord and brain stem, in an intuitive order. The key value of the book is all about the two-page spreads that feature “raw” cross sectional neurology images on one page, and labeled cartoon overlays on the opposite page. This gives you the perspective of the types of images you will see on exams, while still outlining pertinent borders and areas. If you have a question about where that darker blob ends or what it does, just look at the page above for the border and answer.
A bit of advice when using Haines Neuroanatomy Atlas: a common mistake many med students make it to bring this book into neurology or neuroanatomy lab with them. While doing so will allow you to utilize the atlas, it is a most assured method of ruining the book as well. It is nearly impossible to avoid getting preservatives/fixatives and streaked brain bits onto the pages as you and lab partners reach over it and attempt to turn the pages. You should try to avoid doing so and then taking the book home or touching it with bare hands later.
As a reference, this is the latest edition of the popular cover shown right, and should not be confused as being a different book. The cover on the right also gives you a taste of the types of images in the book itself.
Overall, Haines’ Neuroanatomy Atlas is definitely not one to miss, and should be used for its intended purpose: as a neuroanatomy picture book that provides the visual complement to your preclinical med school Neurology lectures and syllabus. If you’re going for Honors in preclinical Neurology or your Neurology clerkship, buy this book.