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Atlas of neuromuscular diseases
  1. R W Orrell

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    Edited by Eva L Feldmand, Wolfgang Grisold, James W Russell, Udo Zifko. Published by Springer Verlag, 2005, €198 (hardcover), pp 474. ISBN 3-211-83819-8

    This book it titled an “atlas” and subtitled “a practical guideline”. I had the expectation of a heavily illustrated book of neuromuscular conditions with annotations. The book has been designed as a comprehensive coverage of disorders of peripheral nerve (including cranial nerves), muscle, neuromuscular junction, and motor neurone. Each condition is outlined in note form, with particular emphasis on causation—which can be lengthy and repetitive. The style of the text is abbreviated and can be difficult to read. The précis can be misleading or inaccurate at times. A useful list of references is given.

    It is not clear to me to whom this book would appeal. The text is probably too comprehensive and potentially misleading or confusing for students, and does not add much to those already informed. The number and quantity of the illustrations is disappointing. I had expected more clinical illustrations of the conditions described. As a practical guideline it is not helpful and in particular the therapeutic suggestions are too abbreviated, incomplete, and uncritical for clinical application. Problems to be addressed in the next edition include the use of the same nerve biopsy illustration for patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, despite one image being rotated by 90 degrees; the illustration of text relating to genetically defined young onset spinal muscular atrophy with an elderly man who appears to have progressive muscular atrophy; and the spelling of fascioscapulohumeral (sic) dystrophy.

    The authors point out that “no other book provides a complete overview in a structured and easily comprehensive pattern supported by figures and pictures”. There are, however, a number of excellent books related to diseases of muscle and nerve, some providing a wider range of clinical and pathological illustrations and a more critical review of clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment. At the present time the role claimed by this book remains unfilled.

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