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Intracranial and Inner Ear Physiology and Pathophysiology

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    Intracranial and Inner Ear Physiology and Pathophysiology. Edited byandrew reid, robert j marchbanks, andarne ernst. (Pp 316, £50.00). Published by Whurr Publishers Ltd, London 1998. ISBN 1 86156 066 4.

    The complex relations between intracranial and inner ear fluids are fascinating for both the scientist and the clinician. This volume represents the Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Intracranial and Inner Ear Fluids, which was held in Bath, UK in June 1997, and accurately reflects the sense of enthusiasm and collaboration at that meeting. The contributors include neurosurgeons, audiologists, otologists, neurologists, epidemiologists and basic scientists, and the scope of the material is very impressive.

    The book comprises four sections. The first,intracranial physiology, contains four chapters including a very clear review of the anatomy and physiology of intracranial fluids by Segal, and then three examples of experimental work on cats, guinea pigs, and humans. The second section,intracranial pathophysiology, opens with a review of “Pathophysiology of the cerebrospinal and cerebrovascular circulations” by Pickard et al, and then eight chapters considering related topics. The tympanic membrane displacement (TMD) test procedure is discussed, representing a non-invasive method of assessing intracranial fluid pressure, and particularly useful in the assessment of shunt malfunction. The third section, inner ear physiology, contains 10 chapters, and considers the inner ear fluids, perilymph, and endolymph in very considerable detail. The final section,inner ear pathophysiology, is perhaps the least consistent in the volume and at times strays from the fluid remit of the book. It does, however, contain a very useful chapter considering the Tullio phenomenon (by O’Mahoney and Luxon) that deserves careful study.

    For anyone interested in the areas described above this book will be interesting and useful. Collaboration and indeed communication between those interested in the intracranial fluids and inner ear fluid is in its infancy, and whereas this book does contain exciting material there is little that is of clinical relevance yet, although some of the techniques and concepts described hold great promise. Many departmental libraries would benefit from the inclusion of this volume, although only those directly involved in this area would be able to justify a private purchase.

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