A book review of The Neuropsychiatry of Limbic and Subcortical Disorders

Article Type: 
Book Review
Published Date: 
Monday, July 27, 2015

Neuropsychiatry of Limbic and Subcortical DisordersThe material compiled in this slim but compact tome, The Neuropsychiatry of Limbis and Subcortical Disorders, was originally published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience in 1997. It was expanded and republished in book form made possible by a grant from Hoechst Marion Roussel Pharmaceuticals. The book was the work of 26 contributors, recognized leading investigators and authorities in their respective areas of contribution.

The book is divided in two parts. Part 1 deals with anatomy and neurochemistry and is subdivided into five chapters: “The Limbic System: An Anatomic, Phylogenetic, and Clinical Perspective”; (2) Ventromedial Temporal Lobe Anatomy, With Comments on Alzheimer’s Disease and Temporal Injury; (3) The Thalamus and Neuropsychiatric Illness; (4) The Accumbens: Beyond the Core-Shell Dichotomy; and (5) Neurobiology of Fear Responses: The Role of the Amygdala. In each of these chapters the contributors have researched and summarized the state of knowledge in their respective areas, and the chapters are followed by comprehensive annotation of sources, veritable bibliographic fountains, which should be of immense value to researchers.

Part 2 relates to Clinical Syndromes and is composed of nine chapters dealing with a variety of interesting disorders in neuropsychiatry ranging from paroxysmal limbic disorders and temporal lobe abnormalities to the neurobiology of emotions and recovered memories; and from the neuropsychiatry of schizophrenia and depression to the neurobiology of drug addiction and religious experience.

Such interesting topics should make the book of interest to psychiatrists, psychologists, and neurologists, as well as functional neurosurgeons and even social scientists.

I will not go into more specific details about this book. I will let readers do their own discoveries, except for observing that the first chapter on the limbic system summarizes very nicely the advances, discoveries, and explanations by the pioneering neuroscience investigators — e.g., Broca, Ramon y Cajal, Cannon, Papez, Yakovlev, Maclean, and others — in attempting to explain the observed phenomena (and sometimes the data obtained in their studies) makes for a blazing historic introduction to neurobiology and neuropsychiatry. And what is even more amazing is how often their hypotheses have been found to be largely correct over the last four or five decades of scientific research and clinical observations.

Advances continue to be made, but not at the rate that would make this book obsolete to students and clinicians, despite the ensuing 18 years that have passed since the publication of this book. The material in this book continues to be of value, not only from a historic perspective, but also from a clinical perspective because of the succinct summation and comprehensive documentation of published research providing a solid foundation in neuropsychiatry as it relates to the limbic system and subcortical structures to contemporary clinicians. This book is particularly valuable to functional neurosurgeons, as well as practicing clinicians in neurology, psychology, and psychiatry. It would also be of import to researchers in the field because of the extensive bibliography up to the time of the publication of this book (1997). This is a book that I highly recommend to all those aforementioned who have a special interest in the field of neuropsychiatry.

Additional Reading

1. Faria MA. Violence, mental illness, and the brain – A brief history of psychosurgery: Part 1 – From trephination to lobotomy. Surg Neurol Int 05-Apr-2013;4:49. Available from: http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/violence-mental-illness-and-brain-%E2%80%94-brief-history-psychosurgery-part-1-%E2%80%94-trephination-lobot

2. Faria MA. Violence, mental illness, and the brain – A brief history of psychosurgery: Part 2 – From the limbic system and cingulotomy to deep brain stimulation. Surg Neurol Int 01-Jun-2013;4:75. Available from: http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/violence-mental-illness-and-brain-%E2%80%94-brief-history-psychosurgery-part-2-%E2%80%94-limbic-system-and-

3. Faria MA. Violence, mental illness, and the brain - A brief history of psychosurgery: Part 3 — From deep brain stimulation to amygdalotomy for violent behavior, seizures, and pathological aggression in humans. Surg Neurol Int 2013;4(1):91. Available from: http://www.haciendapublishing.com/articles/violence-mental-illness-and-brain-%E2%80%93-brief-history-psychosurgery-part-3-%E2%80%93-deep-brain-stimula

Written by: Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. He is an Associate Editor in Chief and a World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI), and an Ex-member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2002-05. He is the author of numerous articles on science and medicine including a three-part series, Violence, mental illness, and the brain — A brief history of psychosurgery.

The Neuropsychiatry of Limbic and Subcortical Disorders by Stephen Salloway, Paul Malloy, Jeffrey L. Cummings (eds). American Psychiatry Press, Washington D.C., 1997, illustrated, indexed, fully annotated.

This article can be cited as: Faria MA. A book review of The Neuropsychiatry of Limbic and Subcortical Disorders. HaciendaPublishing.com, July 27, 2015. Available from: http://www.haciendapublishing.com/articles/book-review-neuropsychiatry-limbic-and-subcortical-disorders

Copyright ©2015 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD

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