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Our understanding of peripheral nerve disease has come on in leaps and bounds. Although the anatomical description of nerve fibres flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the 19th century that saw the beginning of our understanding of nerve function and pathology (Dejerine, Freidreich, Charcot, Marie, and Tooth to name but a few of those responsible). Despite much progress through this century, it has been the last decade of the 20th century that has witnessed a huge expansion in our knowledge of the molecular processes controlling peripheral neuropathies.
The authors of this book acknowledge the recent major advances and this second edition has been written to consider these issues not contained within the 1990 first edition. Part of the Internationalreview of child neurology series, this text aspires to be a reference text for childhood peripheral neuropathy and in doing so, acknowledges the larger textPeripheral Neuropathy by Dyck, Thomas, and colleagues which has, in turn, been their reference text.Childhood should not deter the adult neurologist as most aspects of peripheral neuropathies are mentioned, highlighting and lingering longer on those that affect the paediatric group. It is comprehensive without being overdetailed or exhaustive: this is not an overlarge, weighty textbook. Conditions are clearly and concisely discussed with detailed referencing to facilitate more in depth study. The authors do state their opinions and draw on personal cases to illustrate conditions but nowhere is there blurring of the edges between published data and personal experience. What is particularly appealing about this book is an introductory chapter providing a historical overview of the field. This emphasis on the context in which developments have been made is continued throughout, particularly in the description of the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies.
Aided by careful indexing, information is easily accessible and this book provides a reliable first step for anyone seeing patients with peripheral nerve disease. The comprehensive referencing will guide the specialist further.
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