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Edited by Hugh Markus. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003, pp 342, £79.50 (hardback). ISBN 0-19-851586-3
This is an extremely useful book that goes well beyond its stated aim as an introduction to stroke genetics for both the interested clinician seeing stroke patients, and the basic scientist entering this field of research.
The book comprises 14 chapters with contributions from 18 authors. The basic science areas are well covered, including the genetic epidemiology of stroke as well as monogenic and polygenic contributions to ischaemic stroke. What marks the book out from other “neurogenetic” texts, however, is the success with which it takes genetics out of the laboratory and into the general neurology clinic. This is exemplified by the last chapter, which presents a practical approach to investigating a patient presenting with stroke for underlying genetic disorders. The three chapters dealing with the genetics of the various causes of intracerebral haemorrhage, including approaches to screening for familial intracranial aneurysms, are of particular clinical relevance, as is the excellent introduction to genetic counselling.
Cerebral venous thrombosis as a cause of stroke was mentioned in several chapters, but unfortunately not covered in a chapter of its own. I would have welcomed more detailed guidance on the utility of screening for genetically determined prothrombotic disorders, and how to deal with the uncertain predictive values of test results. However, this is a minor criticism of an otherwise successful book that should be of interest to general neurologists as much as stroke geneticists.