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Edited by John H Noseworthy, with 14 others. Published by Martin Dunitz, London, 2003, pp 2874 (in 2 volumes). ISBN 1-85317-623-0.
Neurological therapeutics: principles and practice is a two volume book consisting of 2874 pages by 345 authors. It is divided into 14 system-based sections that are further divided into 271 subject-based chapters. The chapters are generally short and accessible, making this large book surprisingly practical. Each chapter is formulated to contain sufficient background information to direct treatment decisions. The book works best, therefore, when the diagnosis is established and a review of the issues surrounding a treatment decision is required—a format that allows for daily use. For example, during the course of this review I found the informative sections on peripheral nerve disorders, critical care neurology, and neurological complications of systemic disease of direct clinical use, as were several other chapters including those on CADASIL, cerebral vascular malformations, and brain tumours. That is not to say that the text does not contain some deficiencies. Taking the epilepsy section as an example, whilst the technical aspects of EEG interpretation were discussed, the more important issue (at least to the practising neurologist) of predictive value was not. Treatment of epilepsy in women was generally well covered, but recent concern regarding cognitive development in children born to mothers taking sodium valproate was not mentioned. Antiepileptic drug therapy in the elderly and in renal failure was discussed, but treatment in liver failure was not. As with the text generally, the chapter on legal and regulatory issues for people with epilepsy was written from the perspective of the USA. Such deficiencies are inevitable however, and should not detract from its value as a clinical resource. If unable to provide the precise therapeutic information being sought, the text succeeds in providing an informed and readily accessible starting point from which educated treatment decisions can be based.
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