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Edited by Igor A Kelmanson. Published by Nova Biomedical Books, New York, 2006, £71.99 (hardback), pp 226. ISBN 1‐60021‐279‐4
The increasing interest and awareness of the importance of sleep in paediatrics and childhood development have been matched by the emergence of a series of books on sleep medicine in childhood and adolescence. Many such publications are multi‐author works, so it is nice to see a single author book in this competitive market. However, as the title suggests, a major focus of the book is the relationship between sleep and breathing, which may reduce the breadth of its appeal. Nevertheless, the book is aimed at both a general paediatric audience as well as the slew of interested specialists who have gathered around this particular area of clinical interest.
The book is written primarily as a summary of the author's clinical experience with reference to the relevant literature. The text therefore reads very much like a personal practice paper. The layout is logically ordered, initially covering the underlying physiology of sleep and breathing before looking at different forms of sleep disorder and sleep disordered breathing. The final section concentrates on sudden infant death.
Unfortunately the book's layout does not help the reader access the information easily; the text is printed in a single column and the black and white graphics feel rudimentary and look rather stark.
The book contains many typographical errors which one would hope would have been picked up at the proof‐reading stage, and I found their persistence rather irritating. The style of writing is also quite perplexing. Some passages read relatively easily, while others made me think that English is not the author's first language. These issues also compromise the book's accessibility.
In other parts of the book subject matter is repeated; for example, in the chapter on obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, the equal sex ratios in pre‐pubertal children with this condition is mentioned on one page and referenced appropriately, but this same fact is repeated with the identical reference on the next page. During this section, the review of symptoms and risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome is punctuated by the citation of a specific study in a way that made it hard to make any sense of the topic and completely interrupted the flow of the text.
Overall these factors make the book feel clunky and awkward in the way it reads, which is probably also due to the unusual idiom the author uses.
This book retails at a cost of £71.99 which is expensive if you are considering buying it for a small or cash‐poor departmental library. I think it unlikely that the book will attain the status of a standard text in this area of paediatrics until the presentation, layout, proofing and language of the contents are subject to revision and further refinement.