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Book Reviews
December 2000

Epilepsy (Fast Facts Series)

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by Martin J. Brodie and Steven C. Schachter, 72 pages including index and brief glossary, $24, ISBN 1-899541-27-6, Oxford, England, Health Press Ltd, 1999.

Arch Neurol. 2000;57(12):1789-1790. doi:

This book is divided into 11 sections covering epidemiology, diagnosis, epilepsy syndromes, diagnostic techniques, pharmacological treatment, pregnancy, anticonvulsant withdrawal, status epilepticus, vagal nerve stimulation, epilepsy surgery, and future trends. Thus, each section is very brief.

It is difficult to be sure who would benefit from this book. The brief format requires a staccato style and lack of words to tie together the various sections.

The format is reminiscent of the Time-Life series of books: The pictures are pretty, but often irrelevant. The brief discussions of the various subjects do not provide a theoretical basis or adequate details to actually "bake the cake." No doubt, the intelligent layman would find the book interesting. Yet, although it is far too simplistic for the consulting neurologist, it contains gems of facts that most neurologists do not have at their fingertips. If one attempts to look up a specific fact, he or she will either be gratified or frustrated by the particular section consulted. I don't believe a family practitioner would take the time to read the book cover to cover; however, many nurses working with epileptic patients and many family physicians would find portions of it useful.

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