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A clinical guide to epileptic syndromes and their treatment
  1. J Duncan

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    Edited by C P Panayiotopoulos. Bladon Medical Publishing Limited, Chipping Norton, 2002, £39.95, pp 239. ISBN 1-904218-23-7

    This book is a delightful rarity. It represents the distillation of over 30 years and 100 original publications in clinical epileptology and is a fitting culmination to Tom Panayiotopoulos’s distinguished career as an eminent clinical epilepsy specialist. Unashamedly this represents the views of a splitter rather than a lumper when it comes to the classification of syndromes, particularly those affecting children and adolescents. Although the identification of the idiopathic generalised epilepsies, such as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, has very significant implications for treatment choice and strategy, it remains to be seen to what extent the susceptibility genes that contribute to the common epilepsies mesh with the finer details of the clinical and EEG classification of the epilepsies, and to the design of treatment strategies. In addition to clearly describing the range of epilepsy syndromes and their diagnostic features and management, there are a number of valuable diagnostic and practice tips such as how to recognise infantile spasms.

    As occurs all too often, the quality of the content is not matched by the quality of the physical production of this book. This is a 400 page book that is crammed into 278 pages. Margins and borders are cut to the bone, tables and figures are squeezed into too little space and could be better presented. The shortcomings of the physical production are a particular pity because of the good ideas in the formatting of the material, so that particular aspects are easily accessible for those readers who are looking for them: tables of definitions and diagnostic tips are in red, figure legends and footnotes are in blue, and the titles of syndromes are in green.

    These irritations notwithstanding, I would certainly buy this book to have available for reference when considering the correct classification of a particular patient, and for teaching purposes, and would recommend it to all colleagues who see and treat those with epilepsy, be they studying or working in secondary or tertiary referral practices.

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