The central nervous system

The central nervous system

BOOK REVIEWS 359 Most of the information contained in this book is of course readily available from a host of other epilepsy textbooks and, since th...

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BOOK REVIEWS

359

Most of the information contained in this book is of course readily available from a host of other epilepsy textbooks and, since there are so many short chapters, there is a great deal of redundancy. There are, however, a few chapters which struck this reviewer as useful, for instance: Intermittent home treatment of epileptic relapses with diazepam by Lombroso, the special problems of epilepsy patients with other chronic medical illnesses by Scheuer, Anesthesia (Mullis and Fink) and Surgery for unrelated conditions in epilepsy patients (Louis) as well as the use of intravenous immunoglobulins in drug-resistant patients (Van Rijckev0rsel-Hamant and Delire). The authors clearly did the best they could with the charge they were given but one does question the efforts of the series editor. An attempt was made to be encyclopedic yet concise but by splitting it up in so many different chapters and authors, it loses cohesion and also omits topics which might have been equally relevant. Apart from the major lack of EEG, one could readily think of discussing, for instance the relative merits of the various anticonvulsants for patients who cannot afford VPA or CBZ, the entire area of sports activities, or guidelines for medico-legal testimony. The book will probably find its niche in hospital libraries for reference purposes.

expect a unified concept presented from various angles of view. Objections are scanty. In the discussion of the thalamus as the generator of alpha rhythm, the clinical EEGer with experience in depth recording will be surprised because thalamic alpha appears to be limited to lateral geniculate and pulvinar in the human electrothalamogram. The chaos theory is in evidence almost ubiquitously. It is felt that chaos is needed so that an orderly brain function can materialize: non-chaos consequently would result in single-mindedness or even paranoia. These are new powerful thoughts and their impact will be astounding. This book indicates the dawning of a new (and perhaps glorious) period in electroencephalography and one has to be most grateful to the editors Ba§ar and Bullock as well as to all contributors for this timely work. It is an expensive book but whoever wishes to peek into the future of our specialty ought to pay the price. The book is excellently referenced; illustrations and subject index are of fine quality. Basic EEG is on the move again - with a certain time lag, clinical EEG will follow.

E.A. Rodin

Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, Baltimore, MD (USA)

E. Niedermeyer

Department of Neurology, University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City, UT (USA) Induced rhythms of the brain. - E. Ba§ar and T.H. Bullock (Eds.) (Birkhiiuser, Boston, MA, 1992, 512 p., Price U.S. $149.95) This fascinating book heralds a new era of intensified basic EEG research. In the preface, Vernon B. Mountcastle - one of the few elder grandmasters of electrophysiological neurophysiology - points out that the use of EEG in basic brain research reached a peak in the 1940/1950ies, but now " . . . rather suddenly a new paradigm is upon us." This new paradigm in its entire width and complexity is the topic of this book. The electroencephalographer is being confronted with a perplexing new terminology. "Induced rhythms" differ from both spontaneous and driven oscillations - they do not form a homogeneous class (Bullock's chapter). Posterior alpha rhythm, rolandic mu rhythm and sleep spindles (so aptly updated and discussed by Steriade et al. (1990) and Lopes da Silva (1991) in this journal) and also ultraslow DC frequencies do not occupy a major position in the presentations of this book but have not been forgotten either. Lopes da Silva reviews the significance of the limbic theta rhythm. Greatest emphasis is being placed on fast frequencies and, above all, rhythmical 40/sec activity. Such activity has been studied in the visual cortex by Gray and his co-workers Engel, K6nig and Singer. The reader will remember the enormous impact of the work of Gray and Singer in the late 1980ies. Eckhorn and co-workers speculate about the role of 40/sec EEG activity during focal attention. A resurrection of the term "gamma rhythm" is widely found in this book. The wealth of information offered by this work exceeds the limitations of a book review. In this star-studded cast of contributors like Freeman, Llinfis, Lopes da Silva, Adey, Steriade, Petsche, Pfurtscheller, Edelman, Galambos, Buzsaki - to name just a few there is considerable variety and width; thus, the reader should not

The central nervous system. - by P. Brodal (Oxford University Press, New York, 1992, 464 p., 264 illustrations, Price: U.S. $39.95) This book had its forerunner: of the same title, written by Alf Brodal, the author's father and one of Europe's most prominent neuroanatomists; it appeared in 4 editions between 1949 and 1982. In spite of considerable changes, the principal goal of the new book has remained the same as that of its predecessor: "to help readers achieve an understanding of the relationship between structure and function of the nervous system." The book is easily readable; virtually every page reveals the author's masterful didactic abilities enhanced by elegant illustrations. This book can be used by undergraduate and graduate students of neuroanatomy but it is also quite useful for clinical neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists. This statement underscores the didactic strength of this work. The cerebral cortex does not receive the same degree of attention as the rest of the CNS does. It is hoped that further editions will contain more information about the functions of frontal and temporal lobes. The limbic system is also a bit scantily presented and this is also true for the olfactory system with its complexities. This does not detract from the fact that this book is a fine piece of work. It is impossible to present more CNS anatomy along with beautifully balanced physiology on 464 pages. The references are well chosen; their number lies slightly below 500 - unlikely to satisfy the academically interested reader. The price? A phenomenal bargain! E. Niedermeyer

Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, Baltimore, MD (USA)