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Neuroanatomy plays a crucial role in the health science curriculum by preparing students to understand the anatomical basis of neurology and psychiatry. Imaging the human brain, in both the clinical and research setting, helps us to identify its basic structure and connections. And when the brain becomes damaged by disease or trauma, imaging localizes the extent of the injury. Functional imaging helps to identify the parts of the brain that become active during our thoughts and actions, and reveals brain regions where drugs act to produce their neurological and psychiatric effects. Complementary experimental approaches in animals—such as mapping neural connections, localizing particular neuroactive chemicals within different brain regions, and determining the effects of lesions—provide the neuroscientist and clinician with the tools to study the biological substrates of disordered thought and behavior. To interpret this wealth of information requires a high level of neuroanatomical competence.

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Since the third edition of Neuroanatomy: Text and Atlas, clinical neuroscience has become even more dependent on localization of function for treatment of disease. Electrophysiological procedures, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease, target small regions within the basal ganglia. DBS, as this is called, is routine in many major medical centers. Interventional neuroradiology is a chosen approach for treating many vascular abnormalities, such as repair of arterial aneurysms. Surgery to resect small portions of the temporal lobe is the treatment of choice for many patients with epilepsy. Neurosurgeons routinely use high-resolution imaging tools to characterize the functions and even the connections of regions surrounding tumors, to resect the tumor safely and minimize risk of loss of speech or motor function. Each of these innovative approaches clearly requires that the clinical team have a greater knowledge of functional neuroanatomy to design and carry out these tasks. And this demand for knowledge of brain structure, function, and connectivity will only be more critical in the future as higher-resolution and more effective approaches are developed to repair the damaged brain.

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Neuroanatomy helps to provide key insights into disease by providing a bridge between molecular and clinical neural science. We are learning the genetic and molecular bases for many neurological and psychiatric diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and schizophrenia. Localizing defective genes to particular brain regions and neural circuits helps to further our understanding of how pathological changes in brain structure alter brain function. And this knowledge, in turn, will hopefully lead to breakthroughs in treatments and even cures.

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An important goal of Neuroanatomy: Text and Atlas is to prepare the reader for interpreting the new wealth of human brain images—structural, functional, and connectivity—by developing an understanding of the anatomical localization of brain function. To provide a workable focus, this book is largely restricted to the central nervous system. It takes a traditional approach to gaining neuroanatomical competence: Because the basic imaging picture is a two-dimensional slice through the brain, the locations of structures are examined on two-dimensional myelin-stained sections through the human central nervous system.

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What is new for the fourth edition of Neuroanatomy: Text and Atlas?All chapters have been revised to reflect advances in neural science since the last edition. In addition to full color illustrations, there are many new features:

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  • Chapters begin with a clinical case to illustrate the connections and function of the key material. Some of these cases are specialized and not apt to be seen in routine practice. They were chosen to show how human behavior can change in remarkable ways following damage to a localized brain region; sometimes a very small region.

  • Chapters end with a series of multiple choice review questions.

  • Material on central nervous system development is now included in the relevant individual chapters rather than a single development chapter.

  • There are separate chapters on touch and pain.

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Designed as a self-study guide and resource for information on the structure and function of the human central nervous system, this book can serve as both text and atlas for an introductory laboratory course in human neuroanatomy.

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For over 23 years, both at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and now at the City University of New York's Medical School, we use this book in conjunction with a series of neuroanatomy laboratory exercises during the neuroscience teaching block in the curriculum. Rather than presenting the material in a traditional lecture format, we have successfully taught neuroanatomy in a dynamic small group learning environment. Supplemented with use of brain models and specimens, neuroanatomy small group sessions complement neural science lecture material and round-out medical, graduate, and allied health science students' learning experience.

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The organization of Neuroanatomy: Text and Atlas continues to parallel that of Principles of Neural Science, edited by Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz, Thomas Jessell, Steven A. Siegelbaum, and A. James Hudspeth (McGraw-Hill). Like Principles of Neural Science, Neuroanatomy: Text and Atlas is aimed at medical students, and graduate students in neuroscience, biology, and psychology programs. The content of many of the chapters is geared to dental students, such as a chapter focus on the trigeminal system, as well as physical therapy and occupational therapy students by considering the motor systems in detail.

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John H. Martin

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