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Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Disorders

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    Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Disorders. (Book and Video Set). Edited by eduardo tolosa, william c koller, andoscar s gershanik. (£90.00). Published by Heinemann, Oxford, 1998. ISBN 0-7506-9971-X.

    First impressions count, so it is important for a publisher to choose the right time to send a book to be reviewed. Unfortunately Butterworth Heinemann’s timing for this book was awry. This volume arrived on my desk at the same time as I was struggling to improve a patient’s primary orthostatic tremor in time for her daughter’s wedding in Australia. I was therefore disconcerted when I could find no reference to this disease in the index under primary, orthostatic, or tremor. I turned to the chapter on tremor and eventually found a single inadequate sentence describing it as a clinical variant of essential tremor and a reference to clonazepam as the first line treatment. Happily, the book passed my second test—treatment options for a patient with tardive dyskinesiae.

    With longer acquaintance the book is more impressive. There are some good reviews and some authors have taken much trouble to produce treatment algorithms. I thought that many of the tables were excellent. A physician using the book for guidance for a patient with Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, or dystonia would find an abundance of useful information. However there are unfortunate lacunae—for example, there is no mention of the recent controversies over the use of selegilene.

    A video is an excellent addition to any book on movement disorders. Unfortunately, the video refused to run on our modern video recorder at home (which never refuses offerings from the Disney corporation) and ran poorly on the state of the art equipment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Some of the clips were of poor quality—perfectly acceptable for very rare diseases but not for common conditions. The video covered the basics well and had some particularly florid examples of ticeurs. More cross referencing between the book and video would have helped.

    Despite its limitations I would recommend this book-video combination for the groups at whom it is aimed—namely, primary care physicians and doctors in training. However, I thought that it might have been better written by a far smaller team, leaving the multieditor/multiauthor approach for more advanced textbooks, which aim to become the definitive works on a subject.