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March 17, 1989

Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis

JAMA. 1989;261(11):1649-1650. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420110125038

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Dalakas and his 15 contributors have constructed a workable and informative consideration of the myositides. Because of their number and many disciplines, it is not surprising that there are some areas of overlap and disagreement among the authors. Most striking is the contrast between the classification provided by Dalakas and those of Bohan, Fenichel, Rosenburg, Carry, and Ringel. That of Dalakas is an amalgam of classifications by age and response to therapy, whereas those of the latter authors are more etiologically directed.

Chapters by seasoned researchers and clinicians are divided into clinical features, etiology and mechanisms, and diagnosis and treatment, as well as a concluding overview of the subject. Throughout, the book has many nuggets of information that make it well worth reading, such as the statement (p 33) that approximately 12% of patients have normal muscle biopsy results even during active myositis. To quote further, "This should not discourage