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Handbook of Clinical Neurology; Systemic Diseases, Part III

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    Handbook of Clinical Neurology; Systemic Diseases, Part III. By mj aminoff and cg goetz (Handbook of Clinical Neurology series edited by PJ Vinken and GW Bruyn). (Pp748, US$264.50). Published by Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, 1998. ISBN 0444812903.

    This is volume 71 in the series of theHandbook of Clinical Neurology. It is part III, the third and last volume dedicated to the neurology of systemic disease and, therefore, updates the previous volumes on this subject, volumes 38 and 39, first published in 1979 and 1980. Covered in this book are collagen vascular diseases and the vasculitides, immune system disorders with several chapters addressing HIV and related complications, multiorgan diseases such as sarcoidosis and amyloidosis, and finally oncology with a clear discussion of paraneoplastic disorders. Much has happened in these fields over the final 2 decades of the last millennium, particularly in the areas of immunology and imaging. For example, the wide ranging destruction of HIV was not yet a familiar problem and knowledge of the fascinating paraneoplastic disorders continues to emerge rapidly. This new volume is welcome. In addition, the management of these conditions often falls between disciplines including rheumatologists, clinical immunologists, haematologists, oncologists, and the neurologist, making the need for a reference book that crosses these specialties imperative.

    As a reference book I think this volume works well. It is detailed and comprehensive and, importantly, well referenced. The emphasis is clinical and therapeutic interventions are discussed taking an evidence based approach. This is not an opinionated book but one that attempts to digest the vast literature. Immunological aspects and the significance of laboratory markers, likewise, are intelligently discussed.

    This book tackles a large, complicated, and overlapping field systematically and is one that I would recommend to those working in all the disciplines mentioned above. By necessity, however, it gets a little heavy going from time to time and although illustrated with radiological images and histology, the token two colour plates are hardly sufficient to offer some relief. I was left wondering why these two particular plates (one a midbrain perivascular haemorrhage and the other of a vasculitis with fibrinoid necrosis) did to deserve such special attention.