Differential Diagnosis in Neurology

Background | Endorsements


Dr. Fred D. Lublin, MD, FAAN, FANA
Dr. Schwartzman's Differential Diagnosis in Neurology is a masterful tome on diagnosing disease of the nervous system. In an era of subspecialization, this book provides easily accessed information on differential diagnosis that serves the new and more seasoned clinicians equally well. Based on the teaching experience of one of the finest neurological educators I have encountered, Dr. Schwartzman uniquely and usefully addresses diagnosis from anatomic, pathophysiologic and phenomenologic approaches.

Saunders Family Professor of Neurology
Director, The Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis
Co-Chief Editor, Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York

Dr. Lee Peterlin, DO
In medicine, we celebrate "Clinicians of Distinction". I am convinced this term would not be allowed to be used as frequently if the standard was set to the level Dr. Schwartzman has obtained. He is a truly brilliant and world-class diagnostician and neurologist. To be fortunate enough to have been taught by him or to have worked with him is an honor; it raises you to your best. Reading his book will give you this advantage. You will be learning from simply the best!

Associate Professor of Neurology
Director, Headache Research
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Ausim Azizi, MD, PhD
! have been studying the Differential Diagnosis in Neurology with great interest and anticipation as I witnessed its birth and genesis from the mind of a master neurologist of our generation. I am proud to confess that I observed and learned from Dr. Schwartzman as a young faculty during my formative years of becoming a neurologist. This tome is a distillate of thousands of hours of discussions of real patients; forged in the milieu of unbridled polemics and dialectic discussions with all levels of colleagues and learners. It is honed into a sharp instrument for understanding, diagnosis and treatment of neurologic diseases. This text is not only a practical guide for patient care but also the type of work that serves as a fingerpost for neurologic investigation; it is pointing to gaps in our knowledge of disease processes and their management. I look at this electronic version with that sense of familiarity and awe, each chapter is still a revelation and a rare insight.

Mathew T. Moore Professor of Neurology
Chairperson Department of Neurology
Temple University School of Medicine

Dr. Kleopas A. Kleopa, MD
The first encounter with Dr. Schwartzman in the morning report has been an enlightening experience for every sprouting neurologist over several decades of his influential career as an educator. All who were fortunate to be on the receiving end of his brilliant teaching both in the auditorium and at bed side discovered a great teacher that inspired them to learn the marvels of human brain function and the challenging consequences of its failures. This book, as close as it gets to the real experience of Dr. Schwartzman’s teaching, provides an in depth but easily accessible and precise approach to localization and differential diagnosis in neurology, and is strongly grounded on decades of experience and deep knowledge of the neurobiological basis of disease. For those in love with neurology at any stage of their career, this book will help solve mysteries and clarify gray zones, so that one can face his patients and his own students with the most important skill of a good clinician: The ability to discover the truth and thereby to provide good service and care to the patient.

Senior Consultant Neurologist
Professor, Cyprus School of Molecular Medicine
Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics
Nicosia, Cyprus

Dr. Edward K. Avila, DO
My memories of morning report under Dr. Schwartzman are often filled with a mild degree of terror at the thought of not knowing a differential to a particular problem and also of elation when getting the correct answer! This was one of Dr. Schwartzman’s great gifts; the ability to have the learner want to be better. Throughout my time in training I knew I was learning from a masterful neurologist not only facts about the nervous system and disease but the approach to the neurologic problem. This approach has served me immensely well throughout my career. I can always go back to this approach on rounds and come up with at least a few more possibilities for a diagnosis because of the careful approach he used in teaching his residents. This book is a testament to years of practice and teaching learners on all levels. Importantly, it is an excellent example of an effective teaching style. The chapters are organized in a way that makes it easy for anyone searching for an anatomic layout of the nervous system. It is truly a reflection of his great teaching style, one that I still try to emulate.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York

Dr. Monisha Kumar MD
Dr. Schwartzman's Differential Diagnosis in Neurology is a must-have for all clinicians, as well as for students and residents of neurology. Culled and distilled from a half-century's worth of patient encounters, Differential Diagnosis in Neurology simply and elegantly reviews the possible etiologies for clinical symptoms and discusses the nuances that distinguish them. This definitive and comprehensive resource recalls my experience of morning report, grand rounds and bedside teaching with a truly skilled clinician. Differential Diagnosis in Neurology considers neuroanatomic localization, phenomenology, and pathophysiology in a manner which is quite distinct from other textbooks of neurology. For those who did not have the privilege of learning under the tutelage of Dr. Schwartzman, this book is as close to the real thing as it comes. There is no other resource that I know of that succinctly delineates the differential as this book does. This is likely because there is no clinician, teacher, or diagnostician quite like Dr. Schwartzman.

Department of Neurology
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Joachim M. Baehring, MD
Dr. Robert Schwartzman's book entitled Differential Diagnosis in Neurology is unique in many ways. It is written by one of the most skilled clinical neurologists of modern times; someone who devoted his entire career to teaching the art of Neurology to generations of residents and students; someone who shaped the field of Neurology to become an independent specialty but never stopped teaching it in the greater context of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Schwartzman's unique way of teaching Neurology is reflected in this book. Every day as a Neurology resident in his program started with Morning Report – an hour of case review, differential diagnosis, discussion of diagnostic studies and treatment combined with quizzing the residents on pertinent literature, new and historical alike. It is here where the foundation was laid to taking the best possible care of our patients throughout the rest of the day. One of the most valuable experiences in morning report was the exercise in differential diagnosis, an aspect of clinical medicine that in the times of ever increasing sub-specialization and reliance on "handheld" knowledge is at great risk of becoming extinct.

Writing a book on differential diagnosis is probably one of the most difficult tasks in academic medicine. By nature, these writings ought to be monographs as they reflect an individual style. The purpose of an exercise in differential diagnosis is to establish crosslinks between medical facts stored in different sections of our memory — sections that unless accessed through the same channel we learned them are irretrievable. It is the art of crosslinking that distinguishes Dr. Schwartzman from other Neurology teachers and that makes this book uniquely valuable. It helps you see the forest in spite of all the trees, the bigger picture, the bird's eye view.

Admittedly, I'm biased. I can truly say that my career has been shaped by Dr. Schwartzman and his way of teaching Neurology. Without him, I would have become a different Neurologist, or maybe not a Neurologist at all. Differential Diagnosis in Neurology makes accessible his way of thinking, analyzing, and teaching to a much broader audience.

The book is organized by neuroanatomical structures. A separate chapter is devoted to epilepsy. For each level within the hierarchy of the nervous system and the vascular tree, neurologic syndromes are listed and their differential diagnosis is outlined. The depth and breadth with which these syndromes and differential diagnoses are described is one of a kind. In addition, the reader is provided with an unprecedented plethora of clinical tricks and secrets. The mostly tabular form of the book is the only way to fit such an abundance of information in a single book. While the book does not contain a list of references, most of the facts can be easily tracked in the literature. By not providing references, Dr. Schwartzman honors some of his core principles in neurologic education: teaching by stimulating and challenging, avoiding the "Nuernberger Trichter" (Nuremberg funnel) method, using the competitive interplay between teacher and student.

The student and junior resident have to study this book, not read it. It does not prepare you for the board exam in the most efficient way but for life as a Neurologist. More experienced neurologists will find it to be a valuable when confronted with a difficult patient. Take on the challenge! It will be a transforming experience.

Associate Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology), Neurology and Neurosurgery
Yale School of Medicine
New Haven
Clinical Program Leader, Brain Tumor Program
Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven
New Haven

Carlos Gonzalez, MD
I am Professor Emeritus of Neuroradiology and Neurosurgery and former Director of Neuroradiology at Jefferson University Hospital and Professor of Neuroradiology at Drexel University Hospital in Philadelphia. My background is in neuroradiology, neurosurgery and neuropathology. I met Dr. Schwartzman approximately forty years ago at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital where I started practicing neuroradiology. For many years we worked together in Philadelphia practicing and teaching neurology and neuroradiology.

From the start, I was impressed with Dr. Schwartzman's ability to understand and correctly diagnose and treat neurological diseases. I was similarly impressed with his deep knowledge and understanding of neurology related specialties such as neuroradiology, neurosurgery and neuropathology. His logical analysis and integration of all the information has always been a conduit towards finding the correct diagnosis. More importantly though has been his teaching career, where he has taught and trained a great number of neurology residents and students from all over the world.

Through his extensive experience he has been able to develop his own diagnostic system aimed at simplifying the elaborate and confusing differential diagnosis of neurological diseases. For many years I attended his famous Grand Rounds, where he demonstrated to students, residents and staff the details and application of his system.

His new book Differential diagnosis in Neurology is the summary of his experience as teacher and researcher of clinical neurology. The book describes in great detail his thoughtful diagnostic approach to neurology, which involves the careful analysis of all possibilities in the differential diagnosis before arriving to the final diagnosis of a neurological disease.

The book is written in a simple and clear style accessible to all of the members of the medical profession but in particular to medical students, neurology and neurosurgical residents as well as members of all professions involved in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases. The book can be considered a manual or road map in the daily practice of neurology as well as a ground stone in neurological education. The information available in every chapter and section is up to date, very comprehensive and covers all the relevant elements necessary to identify with confidence all neurological diseases. For this reasons I consider this book of great value in the daily practice of clinical neurology and a real contribution to the education of future neurologists and neurosurgeons.

Department of Radiology, Drexel University College of Medicine
Hahnemann University Hospital

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