Neural Aging and its Implications in Human Neurological Pathology. RD Terry, CL Bolis, and G Toffano, New York, Raven Press, 1982, 257 pages, $28.00.
This book is a compilation of research studies and summaries of literature by 25 authors from 16 different countries brought together by a World Health Organization speciality symposium in December 1980. The intent of the conference was to address factors in aging that contribute to the development of the dementias.
Nineteen of the articles discuss the biological phenomenon of the aging nerve cell and underlying pathological events that may initiate neurological disease that manifests itself in some form of dementia. Factors such as lipofuscin accumulation, diminished amounts of neurotransmitters, decrease in dendrite spines on nerve cells, and decrease in brain weight and volume are discussed.
For the nurse researcher or educator, the book is an excellent resource, not only for the causation of dementia presented in the articles, but also for the extensive bibliographies provided with each article. For the nurse clinician, the book can serve as a resource for understanding causation; but it offers little on helpful clinical assessment and nothing at all on interventions for behaviors that result from brain dysfunction.
Having had one advance course in neurophysiology and some research background made the book easier for me to read, but as previously stated, I would recommend it more for gerontological nurse researchers who specialize in understanding the causes of dementia than for nurse clinicians who are seeking better nursing diagnosis and intervention.