Three points must strike anyone who has embarked on a study of dementia over a period of time. Firstly, that our conception of the syndrome is in a state of flux. Gone, for instance, in the past decade or two, is the requirement of a chronic, progressive, irreversible disorder for the diag nosis. I remember the surgeon who, when I was a student, returned a referral saying he would operate on the man when his dementia got better. Feeling superior, and encouraged by the consultant psychiatrist, we students laughed a good deal at this. Before we finished clerking on that Unit a visiting Professor of Psychiatry had demonstrated the reversibility of the symptoms of dementia in a patient with a rare metabolic disorder. Perhaps ignorance is sometimes an advance on received wisdom. The lesson is the concept of dementia must always reflect the state of knowledge and is therefore in a sense ad hoc. Secondly, what the criteria for, and also who the arbiters of, the diagnosis might be is not always clear. It is traditional to think that expressing opinions and making diagnosis of mental illness is almost a civic right, i.e.
1 Dementia: a brief history of the concept.- 2 Dementia: general considerations.- 3 The clinical features of the dementias.- 4 Investigations in dementia.- a. Psychological testing.- b. The electroencephalogram in dementia.- c. Cerebral blood flow in dementia.- d. Imaging methods in dementia.- 5 The pathology of dementia.- 6 The management of the demented patient.- 7 Dementia: epidemiological, social, legal and ethical considerations.- 8 A pathography of dementia.- Appendix - I: The clinical assessment of the patient suspected of being demented.- Appendix - II: The investigation of the demented patient.- References.- Name Index.
` about the 1st edition ` .. a delight to find a single author writing to a standard suitable for consultant psychiatrists, neurologists, and geriatricians.... ' `.. an excellant book...' `..I strongly recommend it to all clinicians interested in the subject ... ' British Medical Journal `.. very readable review of the subject of dementia ... commendable cohesion.. provides a good introduction for those who want to consult more specialized neurochemical, neuropathological or neurophysiological reports....' `.. a useful well balanced volume .. ' Psychological Medicine