by Derrick Brewerton, 317 pp, with illus, $29.95, ISBN 0-674-01615-7, Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 1992.
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A lot of historical ground is covered in All About Arthritis, and the mind is stimulated; it is rather like a long tea-time chat with Derrick Brewerton. He tells you how basic and clinical research advances have led to a better understanding and treatment of arthritis. The book is addressed to both clinicians and their patients, but the scientific techniques described become progressively more complicated, past the understanding of general readers. I don't think lay readers, including Jane and Phillip, two of Brewerton's patients that he wrote the book for, will truly comprehend the search for the structure of the HLA molecule through x-ray crystallography, the development of DNA probes, or a description of the polymerase chain reaction. But the story is an intriguing one nonetheless.
The most interesting section is Brewerton's own collaboration in the discovery of the association between ankylosing spondylitis and the gene HLA-B27. This involved the
All About Arthritis: Past, Present, Future. JAMA. 1993;270(7):886-887. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510070110057