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This American book is written for students “in the field of communication sciences and disorders”, however, this is a very useful text for anyone wanting to understand the underpinning science behind speech, swallowing and hearing and balance. The book is split into three main sections: Foundations of Human Anatomy and Physiology; Foundations of the Nervous System and the Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Language, Swallowing, Hearing and Balance.

In the first section, there is a good overview of basic sciences including cell biology, genetics and embryology in enough detail to help those heading towards MRCS and FRCS examinations. The second section focuses on the nervous system and goes into the anatomy and physiology of the brain and the peripheral nervous system. This is a useful grounding in these topics for students and exam candidates but isn’t really relevant for practising clinicians.

It is the third and main section which I found most useful. This is split into respiration, phonation, articulation and resonance, hearing, swallowing and balance. Each section starts with the anatomy which goes into a good level of detail and includes clear, well-annotated diagrams. Then the physiology is covered thoroughly. For example in the phonatory section this goes into detail about the vibratory cycle, biomechanics and then analysis.

One of the things I liked about this book, especially with exams coming up, is that at the end of each section there are study questions to ensure your understanding and retainment of the information. Overall, I found this book very useful for the stage of training that I am at and think it would be also beneficial for those undertaking courses in speech and language therapy and audiology. However, once exams are out of the way, I’m not sure this text would be beneficial for anyone in established practice.

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Nicola Stobbs

Doncaster Royal Infirmary, UK.

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