Osborn AG. Osborn’s Brain: Imaging, Pathology, and Anatomy. Wolters Kluwer | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012; 1300 pgs.; 2375 illustrations; $349.
In a departure from the long line of textbooks from Amirsys (the Diagnostic Imaging series/the Specialty Imaging Series), Dr. Anne Osborn has singlehandedly written a 1300-page hardcover book (with image contributions from 100 radiologists), Osborn’s Brain: Imaging, Pathology, and Anatomy. It is a departure in the sense that it is written in the more conventional prose format rather than in the bullet point format with which we are all familiar. While somewhat on the heavy side (over 8 pounds) this book is published with a large distinctive font size (perhaps as a nod to senior neuroradiologists) and with abundant images, including many gross pathology and histopathologic images. One can therefore quickly take advantage of Dr. Osborn’s years as a lecturer at the former AFIP (now the AIRP—the American Institute of Radiologic Pathology—not to be confused with AARP) and as a Distinguished Scientist at that Institute. In addition to the excellent routine imaging and pathology, there are included in every chapter tables which summarize the important findings. And as one would expect, the book contains a large number of illustrations that emphasize the key image findings.
There are six sections: Trauma; Non Traumatic Hemorrhage and Vascular Lesions; Infections; Inflammation and Demyelinating Disease; Neoplasms, Cysts, and Tumor-like Lesions; Toxic, Metabolic, and CSF Disorders; and Congenital Malformations of the Skull and Brain. Each diagnostic entity/disease is discussed under the subheadings of terminology, etiology, pathology, clinical issues, imaging, and differential diagnosis. Of course, under each of those subheadings there is an emphasis on the critical clinical and imaging issues. Even though the book deals primarily with routine imaging and the associated pathology, examples of application of advanced techniques are included.
The chapters are written in a simple and straightforward manner. Take for example cerebral ischemia and infarction, which sometimes is confusing; often, there is variability in approach to this disease. Here Dr. Osborn lays out in a step-by-step approach detailing what should be done and what one expects in imaging (both from the CT and MR standpoint). The reader can review the widely recognized signs/findings/timing in “stroke” but also appreciate the role of more advanced imaging and when to use what protocol. Guidelines for estimating the ischemic penumbra are given and shown. This brief review of the arterial infarct part of the book is offered as an example of the kind of information (done without undue verbiage) one obtains throughout the entire book.
When a single book attempts to cover such a huge topic as “the brain,” it is inevitable and understandable that not every entity we are interested in is fully covered or illustrated. Examples would be conditions such as pseudoprogression/pseudoregression, idiopathic hypertrophic pachmeningitis, or rare forms of dysmyelination. This is mentioned only because the reader should not expect to find illustrated every pathological condition affecting the brain. The reader will, however, find every important one.
The strong points of this book are many, but to this reviewer the beauty of the book is the organized, logical approach to the many similar and overlapping findings (take for example the 50-page chapter on Acquired Metabolic and Systemic Disorders, or the 52-page chapter on Inherited Metabolic Disorders). When we can sort these out into categories and a logical ordering of the findings, interpretations become easier.
This book is one which should be in every radiology/neuroradiology library whether that is in one’s personal collection or in a Department. It comes with the highest recommendation.