How two neurologists conceived a revolutionary new textbook of hospital neurology

April 29, 2016, Loyola University Health System

It was on the sidelines of a national educational summit in 2012 that the idea to overhaul the traditional neurology textbook was conceived.

During a discussion between José Biller, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center, an internationally recognized expert and prolific author of neurological textbooks, and Arash Salardini, MD, who gave an invited lecture as a "future leader," the two neurologists identified gaps in publications and educational approaches.

So they decided to address the problem by creating an innovative textbook that could serve as a model for other textbooks in the future. "The Hospital Neurology Book," is published by McGraw-Hill Education and will be available in May, 2016 in all major medical bookshops and online retailers.

Traditional textbooks treat neurology in isolation from internal medicine and concentrate on many rare and often incurable diseases. This traditional model served neurology well when it was predominantly a diagnostic and consultative specialty. But rapid advances in the treatment of many common neurological conditions have meant that today's neurologists treat patients who are critically ill with multiple medical problems. Conversely, medicine specialists need greater mastery of nervous system diseases, especially outside of academic settings.

"With these changes in the way physicians practice neurology and access information, we believed it was time to revolutionize the way we do neurological textbooks," said Dr. Biller, who is chair of the department of neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The four-year project lead by Drs. Salardini and Biller brought together 110 academic leaders and contributors from Loyola, Yale and other leading academic medical centers in the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries. "We wanted to create a book for the gardener and not the botanist," said Dr. Salardini, who is an instructor in neurology at Yale University School of Medicine and co-director of the Yale Memory Clinic.

The book covers common cases likely to be seen by a hospital neurologist or a hospitalist who treats neurology patients. It bridges the gap between the way neurology is taught and how it is actually practiced in hospitals. It treats the entire span of hospital neurology, but has an emphasis on more prevalent conditions of the nervous system.

The book covers a broad range of topics, such as chronic pain in neurological patients; infections of the central nervous system; stroke neurology; coma and other states of altered consciousness; altered mental status; dizziness and vertigo; back, neck and limb pain; common tumors of the nervous system; adverse neurological effects of commonly used medications; common psychiatric conditions; women's issues in hospital neurology; epilepsy; and a diverse array of acute problems.

Each chapter is self-contained, and can be read in any particular order, based on interest or need. "We used modern pedagogical tools including case reports, question-and-answer format, summaries and a preponderance of full color high-quality images," Dr. Salardini said. "The result is a product of which we, the contributors, are very proud."

The book presents hospital neurology in a digestible way, concentrating on practical information and approach while providing references to more detailed sources of information. In the preface the authors write: "We avoided concentrating on rare diseases, however interesting or elegant their mechanism may be, and only explored disease mechanisms when we thought it would help with the understanding of the disease and its management."

The book was originally intended for practicing general neurologists, neurohospitalists and hospitalists. "We have been pleasantly surprised and honored by the interest we are receiving from internal medicine and emergency medicine colleagues as well as training physicians," Dr. Salardini said. "It makes all the many hours we put into the design, planning and editing of this book worthwhile."

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