Book Review: The Dementias: Crossroads Between Neurology and Psychiatry

The book reviewed here is ‘The Dementias: Crossroads Between Neurology and Psychiatry’. The book was printed in 1992 and so the reader should be wary that some or even many of the details may now have become obsolete in the light of subsequent studies. The typesetting is a little unusual in that the references are given with author and year in parentheses but with every letter of the author’s name in capitals. Otherwise there are lots of useful diagrams and the style is easy to read. Another unusual feature of the book is the content. In the first few chapters there is a focus on electrophysiology with a recurring theme of Glutamate. There are a number of the authors’ study methodologies discussed in detail but towards the end of the book there is a general discussion of neuropsychiatric conditions. Thus the book does tend to move in different directions. In the introduction this is justified by describing the book’s role as being to bridge the gap between the neurosciences and clinical practice.

Whilst each of the neuropsychiatric conditions would benefit from a book written in their own right – moving from neurotransmitter function through to gross pathology and clinical presentation – the book encourages the reader to integrate information from different areas. There was a lot of interesting information and perspectives. For instance the consideration of the Blood Brain Barrier as being composed of multiple systems for mediating transfer of compounds, the analogy between the Placenta and Blood Brain Barrier, the possibility that people may have intrinsic differences in their BBB or placenta leading to specific conditions or teratogenicity, the kindling phenomenon in epilepsy, the lower firing threshold for the Amygdala as opposed to the Hippocampus, Kainic Acid’s augmentation of Glutamate and the author’s own model of kindling.

The strength of the book lies in reminding the reader of the importance of clear dialogue between the neurosciences and the clinical sciences (or clinical practice).


The Dementias. Crossroads between Neurology and Psychiatry. Makram Girgis and K. Harris. Warren Green Inc. 1992.


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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