Surgical Neuroangiography, vol. 1, Clinical Vascular Anatomy and Variations, second edition

Surgical Neuroangiography, vol. 1, Clinical Vascular Anatomy and Variations, second edition

Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 104 (2002) 161– 163 Book reviews Clinical Neuromythology Edited by W.M. Landau, ...

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Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 104 (2002) 161– 163

Book reviews Clinical Neuromythology Edited by W.M. Landau, Futura Publ., 2001. ISBN 0-87993-476-X; $44.95 Since mid-1988, no neurologist reader of neurology has been unaware or remained untouched by the Landau-neuromythology series. In them, Dr Landau, moved by the feu sacre´ of the self-appointed crusader, skeptically examined, acerbically commented upon, and often successfully deflated a number of established concepts and ideas shared by the body medical. Because of the rather sarcastic presentation, the innuendos, and the occasional disregard for the sensitivities of his colleagues he wielded during his fervent service of rational thought, his series often gave rise to irritation, indignation or outrage as well as applause or unholy glee from his colleagues vented in the form numerous letters to the Editor. Whatever these reactions of friend or foe, Dr Landau’s ‘demythologizing’ of consensus-notion-papers and the letters greatly enlivened the forum of the journal ‘neurology’. He had cast himself in the roˆle of Socrates, sarcastic and none too gentle. He evidently refused to drink from the poison that goes with the chalice because, in the present book, he added a number of new scriptorial exercises to the original 15 neuromythologies. In the same vein, he deals ruthlessly with Costen’s temporomandibular point syndrome, intrathecal treatment of pain, the inherent fiasco of intracerebral embryonic cell transplantation, cholesterol hysteria, the filmsy evidence of stroke risk factors, the political hoax of dioxine, etc. A caveat emptor: do not buy this monograph if you are of delicate mental disposition nor if you prefer lazy credulity to the exercise of your faculty or rationality. Also, take Landau’s medicine in small, well interspersed doses: even sturdy stomachs need time to digest it, but the side-effects include hilarious divertimento and healthy refreshment, which ultimately may benefit your patients. G.W. Bruyn PII: S 0 3 0 3 - 8 4 6 7 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 9 1 - 3

Surgical Neuroangiography, vol. 1, Clinical Vascular Anatomy and Variations, second edition Edited by P. Lasjaunias, A. Berenstein, K.G. ter Brugge, Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2001 The first volume of this second edition combines the previous volumes 1 and 3 in one book. The complete new edition will comprise two more volumes on clinical and interventional aspects in adults and in children. The text has been rewritten largely and many new illustrations have been included thanks to new technical facilities, such as 3-D angiography, stereoscopy and virtual endoscopic views of the vessel wall/bifurcations. The three authors have prepared and edited this book all together, based on their 25 years of shared experience in research and interventional treatment in the field of neurovascular radiology. Interestingly, the name ‘Surgical neuroangiography’ has been chosen deliberately to point out the obvious and very close link with traditional neurosurgery. It is imperative that both surgeons and interventional radiologists have a profound knowledge of both functional neuroanatomy and vascular pathology. In this book the vascular anatomy with its many variations is described in a detailed, but very elegant and fascinating way. It has a provocative way of presentation, by which the student is stimulated to think over and over again what has been read. Based on embryology, anatomy and even phylogeny a more vivid and organic view is offered as compared with the rather schematic ‘engrams’ we normally carry with us about vascular patterns and distributions around and inside the brain. For the neurosurgeon and the neurologist the variations in blood supply that normally may occur due to hemodynamic changes in the so called ‘water shed’-areas of the brain are very interesting and clinically relevant. The understanding of variations in blood supply in the ACA territory with the unpaired, bihemispheric and triplicated patterns is highly important also, as their recognition is of paramount importance for functional surgery, prior to clipping the AcoA or in the pseudo-paraplegic syndromes during posthemorrhagic vasospasm!

0303-8467/02/$ - see front matter © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


Book re6iews

For example, sometimes at the level of A2, one side supplies the medial portions of both hemispheres, while the opposite ACA supplies the callosomarginal group of branches. Lay-out, printing and illustrations, including many helpful schemes, are of high quality. The references and subject index are complete and accessible. This book is strongly advocated for all neuroscientists active in the field of vascular diseases and in the treatment of intracranial spontaneous and subarachnoid hemorrhage. D.A. Bosch Department of Neurosurgery, Academic Medical Center, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands PII: S 0 3 0 3 - 8 4 6 7 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 9 2 - 5

Clinician’s Guide to Epilepsy P.E.M. Smith, S.J. Wallace, Arnold publishers 2001, ISBN 0340762934 (Paperback), Price app. £. 30. In times bygone this book might have been named a ‘textbook’ or ‘primer’. The publisher’s announcement tells us that ‘‘The volume covers diagnosis, classification and management options, and considers the cognitive and psychological aspects of the condition. Special issues of key importance to the patient such as school and employment, driving and alcohol consumption are also given careful consideration’’. In fact there is a separate chapter on Epilepsy in special client groups dealing with epilepsy according to age groups, i.e. neonates, infants, children between infancy and pre-puberty, and teenagers, furthermore women and the elderly receive separate attention. In the chapter on Special issues apart from the items mentioned by the publisher also other psychosocial aspects like the family reaction to a child with epilepsy, the problem of stigma, the use of illicit drugs, travel, sexuality and mortality are discussed. The authors have indeed succeeded in presenting a comprehensive overview of matters of importance when called upon to assist a person with seizures or a diagnosis of epilepsy. Yet the book is clearly a first edition with room for improvements. Although the authors sometimes frame information to be remembered, this is not done consistently. It is also regrettable that a book written in English and therefore likely to be read world wide is very much focused on use in the UK for example as regards information for patients only the British Epilepsy Association address is given, while a reference to the International Bureau as source for addresses outside the UK

would have been a useful addition without occupying much space. Quantification is not a strong point of this book, e.g. the readers would have obtained a better insight if various statements about percentage prevalence of epilepsies would have been gathered into one table and the deviation from 100% for the total explained. This disregard for quantification is perhaps also the reason that the authors state: ‘‘Cysticercosis is one of the most frequent causes of epilepsy worldwide’’, such a statement should at least be supported by a table of prevalence of aetiologies worldwide. A further example is a statement of the authors about the association of epilepsy and mental retardation. They write ‘‘One-third of the people who have learning disabilities also have epilepsy’’, this needs a clearer quantitative specification of the group of people with learning disabilities that are considered here. Epidemiologists reckon that 1.25% of a population is likely to have mental retardation (MR). As in this book it is stated that one-third of them would have epilepsy, it follows that the combination of MR and epilepsy would apply to 0.41% of the population. This would imply that about 50% of people with epilepsy have MR instead of the usual estimate of 15%. The authors also do not shirk from the insertion of contradictory statements. This may stimulate some readers to do independent thinking but it also carries the risk that students looking for guidance get confused or irritated. For example in a paragraph about Drug characteristics the following two sentences can be found: ‘‘A detailed knowledge of anti-epileptic drug characteristics is necessary for best prescribing practice’’. Versus ‘‘Broadly speaking, all the modern anti-epileptic medications have similar efficacy, at least for partial seizures’’ and in a following paragraph on Mechanisms of action: ‘‘The mechanisms of action of most anti-epileptic medications were unknown until relatively recently. This did not limit their clinical usefulness, which implies that a knowledge of mechanisms is relatively unimportant to clinical practice’’. Obviously a textbook cannot be exhaustive in presenting evidence for its teachings, however, if a statement is contrary to rational reasoning the evidence for the divergent opinion better be given. In a paragraph about Contact sports, the authors write: ‘‘A common misconception is that head injury is more detrimental to a patient with epilepsy than to one without. There is no reason for this to be the case’’. Given that papers describing the consequences of cerebral trauma report that post-traumatic epilepsy occurs in a percentage of victims only, this is widely regarded as the need for a predisposition (genetic susceptibility). Reasoning would thus correctly expect that someone who has epilepsy (who reveals a pre-disposition to have epilepsy) would be more prone to get post-traumatic epilepsy if (further) brain damage is inflicted.