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My first impression on being asked to review this book was “who needs another text book on dementia?“ this opinion quickly changed as I browsed through the 11 chapters and often alighted on actions that caught my attention. After several browsings I found that I had actually read substantial chunks of virtually every chapter.
The greatest virtues of the book are the choice of topics, which encompass almost all of the rapidly evolving and controversial areas in dementia research including the genetics of Alzheimer's disease; chromosome 17 and frontotemporal dementia; dementia with Lewy bodies; mild cognitive impairment; the status of subcortical vascular dementia; neuropsychiatric manifestations of Alzheimer's disease; and therapy with cholinesterase inhibitors, hormones, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Secondly, the fact that all of the chapters are written by acknowledged experts in the field. Thirdly that the coverage is international (with contributions from the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Finland, and Italy); and most notably, the short delay between writing and publication is evidenced by the inclusion of many references from 1998 and some from 1999.
The book provides, therefore, excellent summaries of recent advances in each of the topics covered, all of which are covered in an accessible style. For those involved in research in one particular area (which is these days inevitably limited in scope) it is valuable to have such a collection of fully referenced reviews from the broad range of other topics. It is clearly not aimed at trainees, who are likely to be rather confused by the contradictory ond rapidly evolving state of affairs in areas such as mild cognitive impairment and subcortical vascular dementia. I can recommend it warmly to established clinicians and researchers with an interest in dementing diseases.