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Everything you need to know about Old Age Psychiatry

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    Everything you need to know about Old Age Psychiatry. Edited byrobert howard (Pp292, £45.00) Published by Wrightson Biomedical Publishing, Petersfield, 1999. ISBN1 871816 38 6.

    There is a bewildering and almost paralysing amount of information currently aimed at the clinician. The number of journals available seems to increase exponentially often with “evidence based” or continuing professional development in their titles, to impress themselves upon you. Many evenings can be wasted surfing websites purporting to be a valuable source of information for the clinician.

    Is there room for such a book as this?

    All you need to know about Old Age Psychiatry edited by Robert Howard has its roots in the Biannual short course of the same name held at the Institute of Psychiatry in 1998. The Editor states that the course and book have a simple aim, “to provide a current and comprehensive digest of the areas whose rapid development will most affect our work as old age psychiatrists”. Contributors to the book are “acknowledged experts” in their field and their grasp of the subject matter is evident.

    The book is divided into three sections: basic research in dementia, and the treatment of dementia and functional disorders. Many of the chapters are expected, for example updates in the genetic and molecular biology of Alzheimer disease and recent developments in prion disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Other chapters are less expected but very interesting and thought provoking—for example, Sir Ludovic Kennedy's chapter arguing for assisted death in dementia, and Robin Jacoby's chapter which pulls together information on forensic psychiatry in old age. Particularly helpful are chapters on treatment resistant depression, ECT, and a review of antidepressants. Overall the book lives up to the editors' stated aims. So when you prioritise your reading and study time this book with its excellent reviews should feature fairly high up your list.

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