Home » Clinical Assessment and Neuroimaging of Consciousness » The Neurology of Consciousness (Book Review)

The Neurology of Consciousness (Book Review)

Every book has to start somewhere, and The Neurology of Consciousness: Cognitive neuroscience and neuropathology begins with a concise introduction exploring the basics of consciousness, coma, and neglect, among other disorders in a well-thought out structure. Described as a “welcome addition to the field”, the contributors to the text include quickly recognizable and prestigious names including (among many others) Drs. James Bernat, Antonio Damasio, Joseph Fins, Michael Gazzaniga, Adrian Owen, Joseph Giacino, Nicholas Schiff and Adam Zeman.

“Suddenly it’s spring,” the prologue begins, engaging the reader in an analogy that winds its way into a narrative of consciousness. The brain is not a black box, it is explained, but a collection of states of consciousness that we can now (with the help technology) peer into. Sleep, wakefulness, dreams — these are all states we can distinguish between. Because there are a vast array of brain activities we are mostly unaware of (breathing, for example) we can use consciousness to study the unconscious within us too. On that exciting note, the book dives into the basics of consciousness. Wakefulness, extended consciousness, impaired consciousness, all of these are covered and more.

“Laureys and the Liege school have shifted the paradigm in the clinical understanding of disturbed consciousness. He and Tononi have edited a ground breaking book.” Jean-Pierre Changeux, College de France

Moving through the book, readers will note some unevenness in chapter length, but this simply reflects the depth of subject matter being reviewed; deeper subjects receiving more attention. The Coma chapter is of particular insight into how various disorders result in comas, and the ethical management of a comatose patient handling the subject with due consideration and care.

Overall, the book is well structured and written — a perfect introductory tool. “I would highly recommend the text to any clinician involved in the neurosciences with an interest in consciousness and/or disorders of consciousness,” Nathan Zasler wrote in his own review of the book. “As an introduction to neurological conditions, this book succeeds,” David Krapf added on amazon.


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