Tag Archives: neuro

Careful Consideration: Pocket Neurology

Pocket Neurology LippincottPocket Neurology (also known as “The Yellow Book”) can be readily found in the white coats of many Neurology residents. Unlike its Medicine counterpart (The Green Book), Pocket Neurology does not seem to hold the same popularity among medical students. There are a few reasons for this. First, it hasn’t been around as long, and thus it hasn’t had time to built up the full extent of its reputation. Few attendings will readily reference it during rounds, and residents simply won’t expect students to own or have access to a copy. Second, Neurology is usually a clerkship of shorter duration compared to Internal Medicine in most medical schools, and therefore comprehensive pocket guides are less bang for the same buck.

What Pocket Neurology covers, it covers very well.  However the target audience for this title is not the same as for Pocket Medicine as a result of the focus in our medical education. We are taught the core principles of Internal Medicine from an early point on entering medical school, including history taking, physical examination, general findings, and many organ system courses focused on Internal Medicine subspecialties. It is because of this focus that new third year medical students can open a copy of Pocket Medicine and understand the more advanced topics without the need for referencing the basics.

This is not the case on a Neurology rotation, where most students are just starting to learn the specialty’s language, techniques, and the significance of common findings. For example, students may be frustrated if trying to use the book to assess the common presentations of migraine prodrome, despite a concise and comprehensive overview of headache differential diagnosis and workup. Getting past the basics quickly to fully utilize this book is highly recommended, as it will certainly be a strong resource to those who can wield it well.

As with all of the titles in the Pocket Notebook series, downsides include lack of space for annotation, and small print font, but these come with the territory of creating pocket reference guides.  Another consideration for this title specifically is an index section that is somewhat lacking.  Topics not contained within tidy concepts involve a good amount of searching in the appropriate chapter.  As a result, many residents will place labeled flags or earmarks on pages to quickly access commonly referenced topics.

Specific sections include neurologic emergencies, lesion localizing in clinical neurology, neuroimaging, vascular neurology, neurocritical care, acute intracranial hypertension, interventional neurology, seizures and other spells, electroencephalography (EEG), delirium, dementia, movement disorders, behavioral neurology, poisons and vitamin deficiencies, meningitis / encephalitis / brain abscesses, infectious diseases, headache, central nervous system vasculitis, pain, dizziness and deafness, demyeliminating diseases of the central nervous system, spine and spinal cord diseases, motor neuron diseases, peripheral neuropathy, radiculopathy and plexopathy, neuromuscular junction disorders, myopathy, electromyography (EMG), neuro-rheumatology, neuro-oncology, sleep medicine, pregnancy neurology, neuro-ophthalmology, consult issues, and selected pediatric disorders.

Overall, this is a title worth purchasing for all Neurology residents and medical students interested in the field. Medical students who wish to excel in their Neurology clerkship or enter a field that uses neurology such as Internal Medicine, Trauma, or Ophthalmology should consider purchasing Pocket Neurology with the above considerations, based on their personal preferences. This is probably not heavily needed for students who have no interest in neurology.

 

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Must Buy: Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking

Bates Guide to Physical Examination and History TakingThe heart of all medical education is centered around a solid foundation in history and physical exam skills. These are not only learned and critiqued early during the preclinical years, but comprise the basis on which medical students are assessed and evaluated during clinical rotations as they are conveyed through presentations. Due to the strong and constant need for excellent history and physical examination skills in producing superior grades, it is highly recommended that all medical students master these abilities early.

Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking, now in its 10th edition, represents the best reference resource for this goal. The book itself is rather extensive as a primer for all things history and physical, which makes it perfect for incoming medical students. The text is detailed and straight-forward, with great complementary pictures, illustrations, and tables. It is important to note that the focus extends behind the basic logistics and mechanics of taking a history and performing a physical.  Special attention is placed on normal physiology, as well as the significance of abnormal exam findings. Combined with proper instrument technique and care, this book allows for a deep understanding and mastery of the basic physical exam.

Other benefits of this book include the CD and website access on The Point, which host patient examination and assessment videos, fully searchable text, and cardiopulmonary exam sounds. To a lesser degree, the book is also helpful at providing basic differential diagnosis development. While many medical schools specifically assign chapters in this book as required reading during preclinical years, it remains a fantastic reference source throughout clinical rotations as well, with continued potential for residency.

There are a few drawbacks to this book.  First and foremost is the price.  At around $100, this “must buy” book is often times considered a “must borrow” from the library. Purchasing the black 9th version of this book will offer nearly all the same content for a slightly lower price, but has issues with page discordance when professors assign specific pages from the latest version. Second, Bates’ strength in providing full explanations to completely inexperienced medical students can sometimes become undesirable later in medical school when trying to obtain a quick concise answer for an understood concept.  Along those same lines, the weight of this 992 page book can make constant transport somewhat arduous. It should also be noted that this book does not delve into the depths of specialty exams, but rather focuses strongly on the general history and physical exams needed for core clerkships. For example, the basic eye exam is included, but does not cover the depth that an ophthalmologist might assess. The book does however provide a full and thorough neurologic, pediatric, and gynecologic exam.

The first unit is a general overview, and contains specific book chapters on: Physical Exam and History Taking Overview; Clinical Reasoning, Assessment, and Recording; and Interviewing and the Health History. Unit 2 covers regional examination, with chapters on: General Survey, Vital Signs, and Pain; Behavior and Mental Status; The Skin, Hair, and Nails; Head and Neck; Thorax and Lungs; Cardiovascular System; Breasts and Axillae; Abdomen; Peripheral Vascular System; Male Genitalia and Hernias; Female Genitalia; Anus, Rectum, and Prostate; Musculoskeletal System; and Nervous System. The final unit is dedicated to “special populations,” and includes chapters on: Children – Infancy through Adolescence; The Pregnant Woman; and the Older Adults.

Overall, this is a highly recommended book for incoming medical students to master vital skills. Be sure to use the below links to get a starting price comparison between retailers before making a purchase, as the price can be steep.

 

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Must Buy First Year Med School Book: Haines Neuroanatomy Atlas

Must Have Med School Book: Haines Neurology and Neuroanatomy Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems

Must Have Med School Book: Haines Neurology and Neuroanatomy Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems

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.

Previous Edition of Haines Neuroanatomy Atlas

Previous Edition of Haines Neuroanatomy Atlas

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.

 

 

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