by Howard I. Maibach, Saqib J. Bashir, and Ann McKibbon, 352 pp, with numerous tables and a few black-and-white photographs, $89.95, ISBN 1-55009-172-7, Hamilton, Ontario, BC Decker Inc, 2002.
To the best of the reviewer's knowledge, this is the only book currently available on this timely topic. Once again, the publishing house BC Decker demonstrates foresight in producing a readable book devoted to an important yet underserved subfield of dermatology.
The relative lack of interest in the field in the United States is confirmed by the list of contributors, most of whom either work outside the United States or were trained abroad. Whether abroad or here, however, evidence-based dermatology is underdeveloped. Unlike cardiology or oncology, dermatology lacks an underpinning of massive multicenter clinical trials bearing catchy acronyms. Melanoma and a few other conditions excepted, dermatology is more about improving quality of life than preventing mortality. Consequently, the outcomes and epidemiologic features central to dermatology are shades of gray, and hence difficult to elucidate via studies. And there is a shortage of deep pockets to support research that is not clearly saving lives—Revlon is not about to sponsor a walkathon to cure xerosis. Given the difficulties inherent in writing a book on "evidence-based dermatology," this is a creditable attempt.
Alam M. Evidence-Based Dermatology. Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(9):1224-1225. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.9.1224-a