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Book Reviews

Posted in Book Reviews on 10th Dec 2012

Clinical Pocket Reference: Neurosciences

Authors:  Juliet Bostwick and Deborah Slade
Published by: Clinical Pocket Reference, Oxford
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 978 0 9543065 7 1
Reviewed by: Kerry Mutch, RGN, BSc (Hons) MSc, Specialist Nurse (Neuromyelitis Optica), Walton Centre Foundation Trust, Liverpool.

From a nurse’s perspective, I would recommend this booklet as a handy reference guide to neurological aspects of nursing care. It is of a convenient size, to fit into uniform pockets. Its spiral binding and waterproofed card make it hard wearing and practical for use on a daily basis within the workplace.

The Pocket Reference will be ideal for nurses working in general hospital, general practice or community settings who encounter patients with neurological diseases (either as the patient’s primary diagnosis,or as a co-existing condition). Student nurses will find it a great introduction to Neuroscience Nursing, as would more experienced nurses moving into Neurology and Neurosurgery work for the first time.

The booklet provides an easy guide to neuroscience practice, divided into three sections. Section 1 gives an introduction to the nervous system including diagrams and definitions of the central and peripheral nervous systems, the motor and sensory pathways. Section 2 is a very comprehensive guide to neurological assessments explaining how to do and how to document. Section 3 introduces common neurological disorders by describing the conditions, explaining signs and symptoms, outlining possible investigations and possible treatment. Importantly, within this section, there are references to appropriate NICE guidelines and tips on where to go for more information.

The format is clear, logical and easy to read. Its brevity means that it will be most useful as a reference for general nurses and nurses new to the often complicated, field of Neuroscience. However, the guide’s referencing and bibliographies mean that it would also be a useful acquisition for more experienced nurses and other practitioners.

Neuro-oncology Part 1. Handbook of Clinical Neurology (Volume 104)


Editors: Wolfgang Grisold and Riccardo Soffietti
Published by: Elsevier
Price: £162.6
ISBN: 978-044452138
Reviewed by Simon Kerrigan, Neurology Registrar, Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-oncology, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.



This book boasts a stellar authorship from the world of neuro-oncology with chapters written by many of the current leading lights in the field from around the world. Part I contains an overview of basic principles including pathogenesis and epidemiology of CNS Tumours and the basic principles of therapy including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, symptom management and the role of clinical trials. Each chapter is succinct and very readable. There are extensive references for those looking for more detail. Volume II promises a more

detailed exploration of specific tumour types and neuro- logical complications of systemic cancer.

Although most likely to appeal to those with a special interest in neuro-oncology, the sections on neuro-imaging and principles of therapy are of wider appeal.

There are few, comprehensive and up-to-date works in the area of neuro-oncology and this book goes a long way towards filling that gap and I would highly recom- mend it.

Primer on Multiple Sclerosis (OUP)

Editors: Barbara S Geisser
Published by: Oxford University Press
Price: £45.00
ISBN: 978-0195369281
Reviewed by: Saif Huda,
Clinical Research Fellow, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences,
John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford.



This book provides a comprehensive review of multiple sclerosis (MS) and, pretty much, everything related to it. It covers historical aspects, basic science, clinical practice, psychosocial issues, and provides a glimpse into the future of MS research. All the chapters are easy to digest and benefit from experience and expertise of an impressive list of contributors.

The primer begins with a fascinating review of the history of MS. We are taken through an evolutionary narrative from initial misconceptions to Charcot’s illuminating account. The numerous and, in many cases, agonisingly painful treatments of the past are described, with chrono- logical progression to treatments more familiar in modern day practice.There are nostalgic moments too:‘beef steaks twice daily with London porter beer’ offered to Augustus d’Este in the early 19th century sounds more appealing, albeit (slightly) less efficacious, than weekly injections of Avonex!

A concise overview is provided on MS Genetics, high- lighting current understanding of genetic and epidemio- logical factors, bringing together knowledge attained from years of linkage and association studies and the explosion of information from genome-wide association studies. The ever controversial topics of viral aetiology and vitamin D are also explored.
The initial part of the Neuropathology section may have been ‘common knowledge’, but covered aspects of demyelination, remyelination, and axonal loss of interest to me as a trainee. I was pleased to see that the section on diagnosis was not just a review of the Revised Mcdonald Criteria, or a lesson in lesion-counting. Specific chapters were also included on supportive paraclinical tests (imaging, CSF, and evoked potentials) and their utility. Given the date of publication, the most recent (2010) revisions to the criteria were not included.

A large section of the book is devoted to the clinical manifestations of MS. Challenging clinical scenarios such as cognitive impairment, fatigue, pain, sexual dysfunction, and reproductive issues are covered in informative chapters. We are taken on a whistle stop tour of paediatric multiple sclerosis in a level of detail ‘just right’ for neurol- ogists in adult practice. The review of immune therapies very neatly summarises relevant trials.

Exactly as it says on the cover, ‘Primer on Multiple Sclerosis’ provides a second-to-none reference for trainees intending to work in the field of MS Neurology or for general neurologists with a significant MS workload, which probably covers most of us.

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