Neuroanatomy: An Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems, 8th Edition

Author: Duane E. Haines

Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins,
2012,332 pp, indexed; $73.95

Neuroanatomy: An Atlas of Structures, Sections, and Systems (8th ed.) is the latest edition of this popular atlas, which has been implemented within many neurobiology and neuroanatomy courses throughout the world.  The new edition emphasizes the anatomy of the central nervous system in a clinically relevant format.   This textbook is highlighted by an infusion with high quality clinical images that correspond to each gross anatomical specimen, brain slice (in coronal, axial, and axial-sagittal planes), and spinal cord cross-section.  Each image, whether a gross anatomical specimen, clinical image, or schematic, is clearly labeled and highlights the internal morphology of the central nervous system.  Moreover, concise text pertinent to each image is enclosed to narrate key anatomical landmarks and important clinical correlations.  Finally, the chapter summarizing the tracts and pathways within the central nervous system is the selling point of this atlas, highlighting systems neuroanatomy complete with detailed schematics, cross-sections, clinical imaging, and clinical correlations.  This chapter enables a student to synthesize and integrate the information learned in their coursework but also, most importantly, understand the underlying clinical relevance of the pathways involved.

Many improvements have been made to the new edition.  A noticeable visual change is that each chapter is assigned a different color along the margins of the top and right border of the page for easy navigation within the atlas.  Other aesthetic improvements involve coloring the cranial nerves to highlight their relationships to the blood vessels in Chapter 2, using additional colored borders when listing the abbreviations used in schematics and reviewing the blood supply of each system in Chapter 8, and, most significantly, restoring the original color to the stained sections of the brain and spinal cord in Chapters 6 and 7.  Concerning content, many new images are included in this new edition, highlighted by: (a) new angiograms showing the major arteries of the cerebral arterial circle in Chapter 2; (b) seven new images in Chapter 3 on cranial nerves, referring readers to other parts of the book to give a functional context for these nerves and their connections in the periphery and the central nervous system; (c) new clinical images on subdural hemorrhage and meningioma in Chapter 4; and (d) new parts of Chapter 8 on spinal and cranial reflexes, the internal capsule, thalamocortical connections, and the pituitary gland, which make this seminal chapter on important pathways even more informative.  Finally, a new table gives a synopsis of cranial nerves in Chapter 3 and a flow diagram is included for additional common reflexes in Chapter 8.  All of these improvements from the previous edition will be welcomed by students and faculty members alike.  

The strengths of this atlas are: 1) the placement of gross anatomical specimens with corresponding clinical images and schematics showing blood supply, tracts, and pathways; 2) the plethora of clinical images that expose the student to the medium in which they will most often view these anatomical structures in the future; 3) clinical correlations summarizing high-yield information for students; 4) concise and precise text accompanying each photo; 5) the placement of multiple images over a two-page layoff  to cover specific topics; 6) the availability of images in their clinical orientation are located online; 7) introductory material explaining interpretation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT); and 8) the inclusion of 60 review questions complete with answers in Chapter 10, with a total of 285 review questions located on the textbook’s ancillary website to prepare students for their course and board examinations. 

There are some areas where this atlas can improve in the next edition: 1) the placement of color images of gross anatomical specimens in Chapter 2 and brain sections in the coronal and axial planes in Chapter 5 to replace the current black and white photographs; and 2) the inclusion of an orientation schematic showing the exact location of the spinal cord cross-sections in the early part of Chapter 6, which, incidentally, is present throughout the rest of the textbook. 

Though it is the primary strength of this atlas, some novice students may feel overwhelmed by the immediate exposure to clinical imaging, preferring to learn anatomical structures with color photographs of gross anatomical structures and their own dissections.  However, as the course progresses to systems neuroanatomy, this textbook continues to distance itself from competitive atlases due to its superb high-quality images, abundance of clinical correlates, availability of review questions to test knowledge base, and thorough synopsis of functional components, tracts, pathways, and systems.  Therefore, the 8th edition of the Haines atlas will continue to guide future and current clinicians toward understanding the anatomy of the central nervous system.


Reviewer: H. Wayne Lambert, Ph.D., associate professor, Dept. of Neurobiology and Anatomy, West Virginia University School of Medicine

Review DateMarch 2012

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