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Edited by Jacqueline M Washington. Published by the Parthenon Publishing Group, 2004, £87.00 (hardcover), pp 150. ISBN 1-84214-189-9
Many neurological disorders occur in women of childbearing age. This small book is designed to bridge the wide gap existing between the disciplines of neurology and obstetrics. It provides a concise overview of the most common neurological disorders that may be seen during pregnancy. Three categories of problems are encountered by obstetricians and neurologists: management of neurological pre-existing disorders during pregnancy, neurological disorders directly due to pregnancy, and neurological affections that require special treatment considerations during pregnancy. The book covers these three categories with eight chapters devoted to migraine, cerebrovascular disease, epilepsy, back pain, multiple sclerosis, peripheral nerve disorders, myasthenia gravis, and central nervous infections. Each chapter includes consideration of the influence of pregnancy on the disorder, the effect of the disorder on pregnancy, and potential effects of proposed therapies on the developing foetus—all concerns shared by every clinician who care for pregnant women. The different chapters provide a useful resource with lists of dosages, contraindications, monitoring guidelines, and side effects of drugs in pregnancy.
Two other chapters, covering muscle diseases (in particular myotonic dystrophy) and brain tumours, could have been useful. One also could regret the nearly complete absence of figures or diagrams for a book intended not only for neurologists but also for obstetricians. In contrast, most chapters contain many useful tables.
A few remarks are also worth mentioning. For example, the section covering the course of migraine during and after pregnancy is sometimes redundant and could have been summarised. Post partum angiopathy should also be added to the aetiologies of postpartum headaches. In the chapter on cerebrovascular disease, eclampsia and hemorrhage sections could have been better detailed.
On the whole, this book represents a useful concise text (more than in-depth literature summary or detailed analysis of complex issues) written in a balanced, practical, and informative way. It can be used by a wide audience and will facilitate understanding and treatment of neurologic problems in pregnant women.
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