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Edited by Kenneth F Swaiman, Stephen Ashwal, Donna M Ferriero. Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2007, pp 1177. ISBN 139780323033657
Published at the end of last year, this two volume set is the fourth edition of a highly respected American textbook of paediatric neurology. In the current edition, the editors have updated and supplemented previous editions. In particular, a new co‐editor Dr Ferriero brings additional neonatal expertise to the text. These books are weighty in every sense, comprising a total of 2672 pages, and logically divided into 16 sections which cover all areas of paediatric neurology, beginning with clinical evaluation and diagnostic testing, through to all aspects of developmental and acquired neurological disorders. Recent advances in basic science and genetics are reflected throughout the text—for example, there are now chapters on neurogenetics and on the neurophysiology and genetics of epilepsy. Less mainstream aspects are also covered in some detail—for example, there are sections on the effects of systemic disease on the nervous system and on the neurobehavioural disorders and their psychopharmacology. The second volume finishes with a useful section on the overall care of children with neurological disorders, including new chapters on ethical issues and the role of the internet and its resources. Each chapter is well referenced (up to 2004) and the index is excellent.
Despite this being an American textbook, it is highly applicable to UK practice both for experienced clinicians and those in training. Areas of potential diversity such as statutory procedures in non‐accidental injury or ethical judgements are dealt with in a broad manner. A few eponymous terms are absent—for example, Pickwickian syndrome is now just one aetiological factor in sleep apnoea and Ondine's curse is simply referred to as congenital central alveolar hypoventilation. Overall, this book admirably fulfils its aims in giving a comprehensive clinical overview of the subject, presented alongside the relevant science. It can be strongly recommended to any clinician involved in the care of children with developmental and neurological disorders.