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Edited by R Loch Macdonald and B Weir (Pp 518, US$149.95). Published by Academic Press, San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-464161
As many readers will appreciate, cerebral vasospasm is well recognised as a major cause of morbidity and mortality of patients following subarachnoid haemorrhage. Despite the huge amount of work done both in the laboratory and clinical setting the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of this disorder is only partially understood. As a result effective treatment options remain elusive. Macdonald and Weir are pre-eminent in this field, having devoted much of their lifetime research efforts to it. They therefore compile this book from the position of much authority.
Having researched into vasospasm myself, I realised that to make progress in understanding the pathogenesis of vasospasm required a multifaceted approach. Most of the work that had been done and was being done was very focused and therefore the knowledge base fragmented. In essence we were not seeing the whole picture. This book addresses that problem and is the most comprehensive and detailed work on the subject.
It covers information on the history of the condition to current understanding of pathogenesis and pharmacology. It covers the medical aspects of vasospasm as well as the surgical aspects and touches on future research directions by looking at molecular biology and the genetics of vasospasm.
It has brought together a vast amount of information from a number of sources and presented it in a very well analysed and systematic fashion. I would agree with Neil Kassell’s foreword that this is indeed a magnum opus and would play and important factor in finding a remedy for vasospasm.
I would add that it is a must read for any neuroscientist currently undertaking research into the subject and indeed would be a valuable background text for any neurosurgeon in training.