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Edited by Neil Scolding (Pp 446, £45.00). Published by Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 2001. ISBN 0 7506 3918 0
The very fact that this book has been published and runs to 400 pages tells us how far we have come in the past 30 years. That it has to be multiauthored reflects the wide varieties of treatments now available to patients with neurological disorders, despite interventions by the National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness. Perhaps most impressive is that the use of so many neurological therapies are evidence based and here Peter Rothwell's chapter on clinical trial methodology sets the tone for the book. Each chapter is suitably bite sized and well referenced with a clinical introduction so that the reader can coast through the subspecialties of neurology that he or she might not see in regular practice. Most areas of neurology are covered and it would be invidious to single out individual chapters but it was reassuring to read Rod Lang's view that, even amongst neurosurgeons, there was uncertainty about the treatment of cervical spondylosis that would only be resolved by a long term trial. Therapeutic nihilists should read this book to see where we are with treatments, enthusiasts should look critically again at the evidence for effectiveness, and the people who should really read this book are those who commission our services; they would be surprised if they saw what we could now offer.
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