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Edited by John H Noseworthy. Oxford: Published by Oxford University Press, 2004, £24.95 (paperback), pp 218. ISBN 0-19-517745-2
A book of 218 pages, which starts with semantic dementia and ends with mild cognitive impairment of amnestic type via Tangier disease, necessarily lays the emphasis on the esoteric rather than the mundane. Whether the subject matter will be of interest to “surgeons…..and of particular help to medical students” is a matter for others to judge. However, it seems to this reviewer, that the average surgeon will not have any particular desire to be enlightened about Whipple’s disease, Angelman’s syndrome, or Erdheim-Chester disease. The agendas of publishers and clinicians do not always coincide and it would be churlish to shoot the messenger when Professor Noseworthy’s work contains much else to savour—especially the preface and acknowledgements!
Neurologists tend to be competitive individuals and this book certainly lays down the gauntlet. The format is tried and tested, with the history, examination findings, and results of investigations inviting the reader to predict the denouement, which is presented overleaf, together with a commentary by an expert in the field. The quality of the illustrations is first class. The range of cases presented is mind boggling and the commentaries extremely well researched and up to date.
I have only a few minor criticisms. Many of the commentaries contain little mention of the differential diagnosis. It seems churlish to present a case of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSH) without facial involvement or mention of Beevor’s sign and expect the average reader to hit the nail on the head. I am unconvinced by the argument that asking our patients to wiggle their ears is ever likely to lead to a fruitful outcome. It might have been helpful to include the normal ranges alongside the results of tests.
At £24.95 this seems good value for money and in my opinion will enhance any departmental or personal library.