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Quigly E. Demosthenes
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Since the advent of practicable digital EEG instrumentation for the clinic, the Neurodiagnostic (as it now seems to prefer to style itself) training community has lacked an appropriately contemporary and comprehensive introductory text.
Such a text would arrive unburdened by messy and cumbersome detail of antiquated and problematic analog EEG instrumentation--the latter with its trouble prone and difficult to adjust electromechanical pens, messy ink, relative extreme montage inflexibility, noise and artifact proneness, and bulky, difficult to access or review paper records....
While mention of such does, of course, belong in the historical contextualization of a field, properly abbreviated mention of same makes space (both intellectual- and shelf-) for necessary elucidation of unique aspects of the newer technology; Thus, caveats with respect to, say, adjustment of "pen damping" can yield to explanation of digital sampling--its limitations (e.g., Nyquist limit) and unique virtues (e.g., filtering and montage flexibility, etc.).
Clearly, the lack of such an up-to-date text has been felt; Two major new texts have now materialized, almost simultaneously, to occupy that relative instructional vacuum and one of them is this truly wonderful and practical (!) book by Libenson (Saunders Elsevier, 2010).
Libenson ("L") is just the book for the job!
The second text is the similarly titled, "Practical Guide for Clinical Neurophysiologic Testing*EEG" by Yamada & Meng (Wolters Kluwer|Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010). (N.B. If you're starting out in EEG, acquire and read this problematic "Practical Guide..." only AFTER you've more pleasantly toured the EEG landscape as presented in L.)
Yamada & Meng ("Y&M") seems to have been eagerly awaited by the EEG community. (See the flavor of the first review of Y&M on Amazon.) For whatever reason, though, L seems not to have had the same degree of "advance press."
In any event, since both L and Y&M purport to target similar audiences (i.e., medical students, neurology and epileptology interns or fellows, EEG technologist aspirants--and, presumably, the instructors of the latter), comparison of the two does seem meet.
Thus, while considerations of
cannot be entirely divorced from
(iii) Suitability to Audience (Utility),
it is, nevertheless, probably a fair call to say that Y&M excels with respect to (i) for the display of expertise--both broad and deeply detailed--on offer there.
However, that last is not in the least to say or imply that L shows itself to be in any way less expert!
Rather, Doctor Libenson, does readers just coming to his subject the intellectually generous and "practical" (sic!) favor of restraining himself to a strong didactic focus--tailoring his approach with student/acolyte needs obviously uppermost in mind.
By such considerate self-discipline and care, then, L winds up having it all over Y&M with respect to both, (ii) Presentation and (iii) Utility for intended audience.
The earliest three reviewers of this work (here, on Amazon) all seem to resonate - as does this reviewer - to L's fine pedagogy. This is in unfortunately stark contrast to Y&M.--
Editorially, too, L is meticulous just where Y&M, despite its encyclopedic competence, is in very deep trouble (until the next revised printing, anyway?)--
L is freer of typos, mislabeled, misspelled, or misplaced figures than is usually the case for first printings--especially so for so necessarily complicated a format as an EEG text.
In L, illustrations/figures/tables/shaded review and summary boxes (this helpful adjunct almost absent from Y&M, by the way!) are logistically disposed near the text they illustrate--instead of, as in Y&M, being bunched into multi-page runs of highly size-reduced charts, without intervening text but with almost unreadably tiny captions and difficult to distinguish callouts or markers; Y&M regularly imposes upon its readers tedious, concentration-smattering to-and-fro page flipping in order to make the necessary, respective mental correspondences between illustrations and their text.
L keeps things as large as practicable, legibly (and mercifully!) few to a page, lucidly produced, well-captioned, and with consistent, clear labeling and callout conventions.
Y&M is printed on glossy paper which is a probably expensive - yet nevertheless poor - choice in that the ink on such coated paper has a slight tendency to smudge under tired fingers (and Y&M's small fonts can hardly stand further legibility compromise).
Those slick Y&M pages easily catch glare--forcing one to tilt the (fairly heavy and, if softbound, floppy) book this way and that to keep page shine from obscuring important detail in cramped, undersized illustrations.
"By contrast," L deploys those - already mentioned - attractively open page layouts, less obtrusive paper, and adopts blue ink (Y&M is strictly monochrome) for judicious visual emphasis.
L is far easier on the eyes and, thereby, the Mind.
Y&M is also rife with sloppily, incompletely, or erroneously redacted figures, illustrations, etc.
L's index is adequate (though still not great). Y&M's grossly inadequate. (The lack of a comprehensive index is a distinct handicap to the student when reviewing for an exam or for the researcher/writer looking to cite another source or view on some point!)
Last, but far from least, Dr. Libenson writes a graceful, attractive prose rendering his text far less dry than anyone has a right to expect from a serious neurodiagnostics text. What an unexpected boon that is.
L is engaged and engaging. Y&M somewhat cold and detached.
If EEG interests you at all, you will enjoy reading L. On the other hand, despite some great content, you will need to truly love all things EEG to keep on task as you struggle through the seemingly unedited linguistic, syntactic, and typographical morass that is the littered visual and semantic landscape of Y&M.
It is painful (but nevertheless accurate) to be so seemingly harsh with respect to Y&M; I do appreciate what must have been a near herculean effort - even for its highly respected and experienced authors - to compose Y&M's core substance and to winnow sheaves to find the necessary relevant EEG example tracings. Y&M IS an impressively substantial effort and it could yet become the new "bible" of the field (especially by virtue of its comprehensivity). (Such is probably not L's ambition.)
At present, however, Y&M is so beset by editorial negligence, layout gaffs, and so linguistically compromised, that it will likely fail (for far too many) of its presumed educational goals: It's a needlessly tough read of what would otherwise be some very edifying stuff.
L (Saunders-Elsevier) and Y&M (Wolters Kluwer) come to us under quality medical/technical imprints. This makes the nightmare-and-daylight differences in editorial quality between these two works even more perplexing.
In sum, then, both L and Y&M are authoritative. L's goals are more limited but also far more suited to the needs of someone just entering the field (or needing to review it). As published and as intended, L is an almost unqualified success while Y&M is a sadly unnecessary failure... a failure which should probably be lain at the doorstep of the publisher and ascribed, in greater particular, to its editors' and production staff's negligent servicing of Y&M's authors and their prospective audience.
Y&M should never have been permitted to go to press as is. (Wait for good reviews of its next printings before acquiring.)
Except for its index, L is simply a gem of lucidity and approachability; It makes one want to meet the author.
Electrode caps off to Dr. Mark H. Libenson!
[Note: This reviewer has neither personal acquaintance with nor any direct professional or other known relationship - prejudicial or otherwise - with any of the authors of the above-discussed works. We are strangers.]