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Magnetic resonance spectroscopy in multiple sclerosis

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    Magnetic resonance spectroscopy in multiple sclerosis. Edited by m filippi, d l arnold, and g comi (Pp 160, US$68.00). Published by Springer-Verlag, Milano, 2001. ISBN 88 470 0123 4.

    The impetus for this book has arisen from an annual magnetic resonance course which brings together some of the outstanding con- tributors in the field of magnetic resonance techniques as applied to multiple sclerosis. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is one of a handful of relatively new MR techniques which have proved particularly useful in trying to clarify the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis. The greatest achievement of MRS in this field has been to provide highly persuasive evidence that axonal loss is likely to be the key determinant in the development of fixed neurological disability in patients with multiple sclerosis. This “axonal hypothesis”, championed by Ian McDonald, was supported by the very first (though often forgotten) pathological descriptions of multiple sclerosis dating back to the time of Charcot. The spectroscopic studies however paved the way for two more recent pathological studies by Fergusson and then Trapp which demonstrated axonal transection in cerebral multiple sclerosis lesions. This whole area is well covered in the book.

    One small criticism is the way in which the book is set out. The editors might have been expected to start with a chapter explaining the fundamentals of nuclear magnetic resonance and spectroscopy. It does seem slightly perplexing then, that one has to wait until the third chapter before being acquainted with such basic information.

    Although not evident from the title, the editors also make an admirable attempt to cover several other NMR techniques including a nice chapter on the application of functional magnetic resonance imaging to the topic of cortical reorganisation and recovery in multiple sclerosis. The areas of magnetisation transfer and diffusion weighted imaging are also covered in a separate chapter.

    I think this book covers a lot of useful ground and will be of interest to those who are keen to keep up with the more recent advances in NMR research in multiple sclerosis.

    British Neuropsychiatry Association 2002 Annual Meeting 21/22 February 2002

    The British Neuropsychiatry Association 2002 Annual Meeting will be held at the Institute of Child Health, central London on 21/22 February 2002.

    The meeting will cover four topics:

     “Clinical and Neurobiological aspects of new variant CJD”

     “The Mind's Ear”

     “Pervasive Developmental Disorders”

     “New Drugs for Neuropsychiatry”

    The meeting includes keynote addresses from prominent international and United Kingdom speakers, along with a session for members' contributions.

     For further information please contact: Gwen Cutmore, BNPA Conference Secretary, Landbreach Boatyard, Chelmer Terrace, Maldon, Essex. CM9 5HT, (tel/fax: 01621 843334; email:gwen.cutmore{at}, website:

     For details of membership to the BNPA, open to medical practitioners in psychiatry, neurology, and related clinical neurosciences, please contact: The Secretary, Professor A S David, Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.