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Martha J Morrell, Kerry Flynn, eds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003, pp 290, £55.00. ISBN 0-521-6522-3.
This book was written in recognition of our increasing knowledge of the way in which epilepsy affects women specifically, and examines the issue from a biological, psychosocial, and treatment standpoint. Its aim was to provide information both for women with epilepsy and those around them, including their clinicians, families, and friends. It is a wide ranging book, covering such diverse areas as a historical perspective of the woman with epilepsy, the epidemiology, classification, and genetics of epilepsy, hormonal issues and sexual dysfunction in women with epilepsy, family planning, pregnancy and teratogenicity, legal and safety issues, and the psychosocial impact of epilepsy.
Inevitably in a book of this nature directed at a varied audience, there is a tension between clarifying the information sufficiently for lay readers while maintaining the interest of the clinician. Generally the authors succeed in this balance, but I felt that some of the chapters, particularly those addressing hormonal issues, remained rather technical for the lay reader. Other sections, such as those on the impact of epilepsy on relationships and psychiatric complications in epilepsy, were clearly written and provided useful information rarely available in standard textbooks, although the chapter on legal issues facing women with epilepsy was unfortunately of limited relevance to those outside the US.
The need for more information about the impact of epilepsy on women has been widely acknowledged in recent years, and this book will be of great interest not only to women with epilepsy and their families, but also to their doctors and epilepsy nurse specialists.