All clinicians, regardless of their specialty, encounter patients with weakness, altered sensation, headaches, “spells”, dizziness, sleepiness, mental status changes, and other symptoms that reflect dysfunction of one or more parts of the nervous system. Clinicians need to know how to evaluate such patients, how to determine if the patients are likely to have a neurologic condition, and how to manage them, at least in the initial stages. This book, written by the lead author of the widely cited Neurology Clerkship Core Curriculum, covers the material that clinicians need to know in order to assess and manage the patients they will encounter in general medical practice. The focus throughout is on the “how” and “why” of clinical neurology. Naturally, the book includes extensive factual material about individual disease processes, but the emphasis is on information that is important for understanding why patients with neurologic conditions are managed the way they are. The first three chapters of the book present a systematic way to think about patients with neurologic symptoms, applying a logical approach to diagnosis rather than relying on pattern recognition. Because the neurologic examination is fundamental to diagnosis, this book provides a detailed description of how to perform each step of the examination and an even more extensive discussion of how to interpret the findings. The remaining chapters cover the management of specific disease categories and symptoms, always stressing the reasons for doing particular tests and the rationale for the various treatment options. Although the book does not cite the original literature, it reflects the most current evidence available at the time of publication.
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