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Editors: Dieter Schmidt, Steven C Schachter
451 pp Price: £29.95 ISBN 1-85317-962-0 (p/b)
London: Martin Dunitz, 2002 .
Schmidt and Schachter's collection of case reports, contributed by authorities from around the world, deals with both children and adults with epilepsy. For those weary of evidence-based medicine it will make a pleasant antidote. The cases are very diverse but there is a set format, always easy to follow. After presentation of the history and findings on examination and other investigations, the diagnosis is revealed along with information on treatment and outcome. The most useful section on each case is the commentary, telling us what the expert learned. In most instances there is a list of useful references.
This is not a textbook of epilepsy and does not claim to be. It will appeal most to clinicians with a particular interest in the subject, including neurophysiologists and epilepsy nurses. A strength of this text is that the case reports often emphasize important issues that are neglected in more conventional works. In addition the reader may be reassured, as I was, to discover that even the greatest epileptologists are frequently puzzled by individual casesand that persistence and attention to detail pay dividends.
I began by describing the book as an antidote to evidence-based medicine. Of course, this is only partly correct. Although much of the information is not based on rigorously controlled studies it contains many gems. I heartily recommend it both for instruction and for entertainment.