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Edited by Christopher M Filley (Pp 267, £43.50). Published by Oxford University Press, New York, 2001. ISBN 0-19-513561-X
This is a single author review and is a small book of 279 pages. It is divided into three parts, the first covering the normal function, development, and imaging of white matter. The second and largest covers diseases affecting white matter. While the range of conditions covered is comprehensive, each condition receives from a short paragraph to a couple of pages. While the material in the first two sections therefore focuses on white matter, these sections do not provide any information that would not be readily accessible in standard neurological texts. The third section deals specifically with the cognitive and neurobehavioural aspects of white matter disease. An overview of the cognitive changes that may be seen is provided along with further discussion of individual syndromes but again the information provided on each syndrome is brief. Similar comments apply to the following section on psychiatric syndromes. Readers consulting the book for advice on any aspect of management will be disappointed; this is scarcely mentioned at all. Another common issue, the selection of appropriate scales and tests for the assessment of cognitive loss, is also striking by its absence.
It is difficult to see where this book will fit in; the first two sections would be better covered elsewhere. The final section provides more unusual material but even so this is brief, somewhat theoretical, and devoid of information on diagnosis or management. It may be useful as an introductory monograph for people in training entering the field.