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Fetal and neonatal brain injury: mechanisms, management and the risks of practice
  1. D Edwards

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    Edited by David K Stevenson, William E Benitz, and Philip Sunshine. Published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003, pp 886, £140.00 (hardback). ISBN 0-521-80691-7

    This book is now in its third edition and is subdivided into six parts that together form a comprehensive review of the aetiology, pathogenesis, and management of the brain injured neonate. The text covers epidemiology; pathophysiology and pathogenesis; pregnancy; complications of labour and delivery; diagnosis of asphyxia; specific conditions associated with fetal and neonatal brain injury; and assessment and management.

    The editors have worked hard to “cross-link the basic science with the bedside needs” and have produced a text with clear explanations of the complex issues surrounding the management of the brain injured neonate. They combine a broad vision with attention to detail to produce an extremely useful text.

    There is due emphasis given to current issues, such as the role of antenatal infection in causing cerebral injury and hypothermic neural rescue, and also an eye to the future and issues such as that on near infrared imaging. There is a useful review of the potential for neuroprotective therapy, and up to date contributions on all the standard issues such as long term outcome, treatment of seizures, and drug misuse.

    How does the book compare with its competitors? The standard text for most workers is probably Jo Volpe’s magisterial single author textbook, and in comparison to this the new volume fares well. There is less basic science—particularly in neuroanatomy and cell biology—but there is a wider clinical scope. I shall keep both volumes on my shelves and will expect to find complimentary information in both on any given topic.

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