Neurogenetics: principles and practice

Neurogenetics: principles and practice

100 Surg Neurol 1986;26:99-100 able. Admittedly, some of the reports in this section have merit, yet they are too few to salvage this otherwise unap...

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100

Surg Neurol 1986;26:99-100

able. Admittedly, some of the reports in this section have merit, yet they are too few to salvage this otherwise unappealing segment. Based upon the information on the basic aspects of central nervous system plasticity and repair, this report can be recommended to all neuroscientists seeking a brief update of that laboratory research ongoing in this area. For those, however, who are seeking a comparable clinical update, this report cannot be highly recommended. H A R O L D F. Y O U N G , M.D. Richmond, Virginia

Neurogenetics: Principles and Practice. By R o g e r N . R o s e n b e r g . 336 pp. $49.50. N e w Y o r k : R a v e n Press, 1985. After reading the introduction, which summarizes the major developments in genetics over the last 120 years and finally hints at major breakthroughs on the horizon, one senses that this book will be an important guide in the world of neurogenetics. Indeed, it is a valuable resource for information concerning both basic scientific work in modern molecular genetics and the multitude of specific clinical syndromes shown to have a genetic basis. The first third of the book contains five chapters that lay the basic groundwork for the large final chapter on clinical neurogenetics. The history and major principles of genetics are well reviewed in the first chapter. This includes everything from Gregor Mendel's laws of uniformity, segregation, and free combination of genes through definitions and concepts in molecular genetics, neuroethology, and genetic counseling. The next two chapters discuss the basic foundations concerning research techniques and results in the study of neuronal

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and glial differentiation, including the biochemical relationships of neuroblasts and glioblasts, and touch briefly upon neural adhesion recognition molecules and mouse neurogenetics. The bridge into the clinical world of neurogenetics is built in the fourth and fifth chapters, which discuss the molecular basis of clinically manifested neurologic diseases, as well as the basic methods of recombinant D N A techniques and linkage studies used in investigation of the specific molecular effects responsible for these disorders. The fifth chapter addresses the topic of neuro-oncogenes with specific attention towards recent findings concerning neuroblastoma and retinoblastoma. The final two-thirds of this book concentrates on clinical neurogenetics; numerous diseases are treated in detail. They are broken down into major categories, the most pertinent of which to the neurosurgeon are the phakomatoses or neurocutaneous syndromes and hereditary cerebral'angiopathies. In addition, there are brief discussions of the multifactorial genetic bases for epilepsy, brain tumors, cerebrovascular disease, and neural tube defects. The book is of good quality. Photographs and micrographs are well reproduced and support the text well. The hierarchy of individual topics is well organized, and there are many specific examples of clinical entities, including pedigree diagrams and useful photographs of specific clinical features. Schematic diagrams are frequently used in the basic-science chapters to elucidate an argument. This is a very timely work on one of the more rapidly growing fields of modern medicine. Although direct discussion of topics pertinent to modern neurosurgery is not a major feature of this book, the information it imparts concerning basic and clinical neurogenetics should be useful to all of us who see patients with proven or suspected genetic disorders. EBEN ALEXANDER, Ill, M.D. Durham, North Carolina