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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 65:139 doi:10.1136/jnnp.65.1.139a
  • Book review

An Atlas of Epilepsy.

An Atlas of Epilepsy. Edited byd f smith, r e appleton, j m mackenzie, d w chadwick. (Pp 158; £45.00). Carnforth: Parthenon Publishing, 1998. ISBN1-85070-488-0.

I cannot imagine ever getting any sensual enjoyment from handling a text on CD ROM but thumbing through some books will always be a pleasure. Among them are those that are beautifully produced on glossy paper with high quality illustrations. This is such a book and is one of a series of medical atlases from this publisher. It starts with 40 pages of well spaced text providing a succinct summary of some important aspects of epilepsy. Where possible there are tabulated data in support of the text—for example assessing risk of seizures after different kinds of head injuries. But this book is not about text, it is about pictures. They include clinical photographs, EEG tracings, extensive neuroimaging, and microscopic and macroscopic pathology specimens. There are also a few graphs illustrating epidemiological points. Each figure has a clear and comprehensive figure legend. The pathology illustrations, both gross and microscopic are the high point of the atlas. The neuroimaging illustrates relevant points satisfactorily but surprisingly most of the scans are CT with only a handful of MRI. The EEGs cover a range of topics from common syndromes to curiosities such as Angelman’s syndrome. Most are clear but some tracings have come out rather faint. The electrode montages are somewhat disappointingly listed under the tracings rather than incorporated into the illustrations. Most illustrations do not have arrows to point to the area of interest but as the book is likely to be bought by those who have an established interest in epilepsy, rather than by novices, this is perhaps less critical.

The main use of such a book is as a source of illustrations for teaching material and as such it will prove valuable to epileptologists and neurological libraries. It seems well priced for this sort of text.