Anne G. Osborn Osborn's Brain: Imaging, Pathology, and Anatomy (1st edition) Amirsys, Salt Lake City, UT, 2012. 1300 Pages. Price £194.65 (hardcover, Amazon). ISBN 978-1-931884-21-1


This book is the eagerly anticipated successor to Osborn's previous ‘Diagnostic Imaging: Brain’, or simply ‘the red book’, a book that has until now been regarded as the go-to reference text in neuroradiology since its publication in 2004. ‘Osborn's brain’ is unapologetically prose-based but very easy to read, all of it written by Osborn herself and illustrated beautifully.

The book is divided into six colour-coded sections, starting with what Osborn describes as the ‘must know ’ topic of ‘Trauma’, followed by other sections (Nontraumatic haemorrhage and vascular lesions; Infection, inflammation and demyelinating diseases; Neoplasms, cysts and tumour-like lesions; Toxic, metabolic, degenerative and CSF disorders; Congenital malformations of the skull and brain) which are helpfully grouped to cover all aspects of neuroradiology. Each of the six sections is structured in the same way: terminology, aetiology, pathology, clinical issues, imaging and differential diagnosis.

Colourful summary boxes are a useful and prominent feature, effectively and concisely reiterating the salient points of each chapter. Nearly every page displays numerous radiological images of extremely high quality, including MR, CT, angiography and spectroscopy, all very well-labelled and relevant to adjacent text. Where this book really impresses is the inclusion of both macroscopic and microscopic pathological images, allowing the reader to cross-reference pathological and radiological appearances. An impressive effort has gone into sourcing even the most obscure cases.

One of my favourite aspects of Osborn's brain is its firm grounding in original research. Full details of a range of selected references are listed at the end of each subsection, giving the interested reader an overview of key recent studies relevant to all sections within the chapters.

While perhaps most useful for trainees and consultants in neuroradiology, its accessible layout, pertinent images and illustrations make it an excellent resource for general radiologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists and neuropathologists also. As a senior radiology trainee specializing in neuroradiology, this book is an essential companion in my everyday reporting. At over 1200 pages it may seem a little long to be used as a reference book, but it is so accessible that I use it as such often. Furthermore, as a radiologist herself, Osborn includes advice regarding scan acquisition and optimum viewing conditions, which really helps to give context to the text – a particular strength of this book.

If pushed to provide a criticism of this book, I would mention that it is sometimes difficult to keep track of the much-used abbreviations, as many of these have been appointed much earlier on in the text. However, this can prove helpful as revision of previously read or ‘skipped’ text in this way can help to reinforce knowledge. With its rich presentation and Osborn's friendly and authoritative tone throughout, this book is enjoyable to read and a pleasure to use. I would recommend it highly and feel it is well worth its price.