Functional Anatomy of the Spine.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Cornwall, Jon
Pub Date: 07/01/2010
Publication: Name: New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy Publisher: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists ISSN: 0303-7193
Issue: Date: July, 2010 Source Volume: 38 Source Issue: 2
Topic: NamedWork: Functional Anatomy of the Spine (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Middleditch, A.; Oliver, J.
Accession Number: 263992609
Full Text: Functional Anatomy of the Spine. (2nd ed.) Middleditch, A. and Oliver, J. 2005. Butterworth-Heinemann (Oxford), ISBN 0750627174. Softcover, 359 pages. RRP NZ$115

The authors of this publication state that they sought to provide a book on 'functional anatomy of the spine' to fill the niche they found while undertaking their own postgraduate studies in physiotherapy. Indeed, few books are available that address this broad and complex subject area. This book was originally published in 1991, with the current version being updated and revised to 'identify new and relevant literature'. The authors recommend the text to physiotherapists and other health professionals working in the field of musculoskeletal medicine.

'Functional Anatomy of the Spine' (2nd ed.) is easy to read, with clear text and headings that are easy to access. Topics seem to be appropriately ordered, and the content of the book flows well, being logical in order and clearly written. Diagrams have been retained from the earlier edition and the artwork has been improved into a much clearer style and presentation. however, the art work is all drawn and there are no plates or photographs in the book.

Examination of the references from the previous edition indicates that minimal changes have been made since the 1991 edition. Indeed in many chapters, less than five percent of references were new with many authoritative authors and papers being absent from a number of chapters. Since one of the stated purposes of this new edition was to include 'new and relevant literature', it was disappointing to reveal such large gaps in the included material. In addition to this lack of material, it was disappointing to find many generalisations in the text which were not supported by references. Some of the statements were, in fact, so broad that this significantly undermines the academic credibility of the book. Many diagrams simplified and portrayed their subject matter in a way that was either incorrect or marginal, especially in the interpretation of accepted anatomical representations, most of which can be easily found in recognisable texts. Maintaining the same diagrams (from the first edition) has undoubtedly made this second edition easy to reproduce, however I feel that such a book would benefit from better artwork and visual media.

I hesitate to recommend this book to practising clinicians or students. While it covers a large range of material and generally presents such information clearly, my concern is the nature of the content itself, which in my view indicates the book is not as 'up to date' as it claims. It may be useful as a quick point of reference to provide a broad, easy to read outline of a topic, however, it should not be used as a reliable source of contemporary understanding in relation to functional anatomy of the spine.

Jon Cornwall, BSc(Physiol), DMPhty(Manip), MSc(Anat), PhD Student, Dept. Of Anatomy & Structural Biology, University of Otago, Dunedin,
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