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Intractable focal epilepsy

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    Intractable focal epilepsy. Edited by john oxbury, charles polkey,and michael duchowny (Pp 878, £125.00). Published by WB Saunders, London, 2000. ISBN 0-7020-2428-7.

    This is quite a comprehensive multiple author textbook which sets out in detail clinical, pathological, investigative, and medical and surgical management of patients with focal epilepsy. The standpoint of the editors is to use the words “focal epilepsy” rather than partial epilepsy because they think that it is more descriptive of the probable underlying pathophysiological changes. As such, the book is of particular interest to epileptologists and other specialists likely to be involved in developing an epilepsy surgery programme. Many of the other epilepsies would of course have more widespread or multifocal underlying substrates or generator circuits.

    The selection of the editors for individual chapters incorporates a diverse range of specialists principally from Europe and North America. As such there is a useful diversity of views represented and many of the authors selected are acknowledged world experts in the areas of their chapter.

    The text is clearly written with good illustrations and high quality photographs. There is a standard useful summary of key points with each chapter, and clearly there has been significant editorial input to produce an easily readable textbook with common themes.

    The text covers many of the areas needed to support an epilepsy surgery programme, although it might be advantageous in a future edition to include further information about the rapidly expanding field of neurogenetics and epilepsy. The overall quality of the material would more than justify its inclusion in a specialist library or to support physicians or associated specialists working in the field of epilepsy surgery.

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