Book review: The Fragile Brain

Nurses who read this book will be able to do their jobs better.

The Fragile Brain: The Strange, Hopeful Science of Dementia

The Fragile Brain

Kathleen Taylor | Oxford University Press | £20 | 336pp | ISBN: 9780198726081


This is the best book I have read on dementia. It is an intricate and intense read, making it ideal for people who want to understand the complexity of brain failure.

The author is funny and interesting in the analogies she uses to convey the science.

Nurses need knowledge and understanding beyond generalities. They must also be able to make sensible analyses of the wall of misinformation that hits patients and carers and translate it for them.

Nurses may have to explain dementia sometimes in simple terms, and even some nurses with ‘dementia’ in their job titles may have to skip the science. But those who read this book will be able to do their jobs better. 

This will be a hard read for anyone who has not studied brain biology before, but not impossible, and some patients or carers may also read it themselves.

I am going to read it again, except for the introduction, the only part I don’t like – its emphasis on the horror of dementia is the one blot in a groundbreaking, useful and brilliant book.

We need this book, not because of a dread of dementia, but because of the dreadful level of knowledge about it among nurses. 

Reviewed by professor June Andrews FRCN, independent consultant and dementia professor

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