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Book Reviews
October 2006

Mitochondrial Medicine

Author Affiliations




Arch Neurol. 2006;63(10):1505. doi:10.1001/archneur.63.10.1505

edited by Salvatore DiMauro, MD, Michio Hirano, MD, Eric A. Schon, PhD, 368 pp, $229.95, ISBN 1-84214-288-7, Informa Health Care, Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom, 2006.

The mitochondrial basis of disease was introduced in 1962 with the description by Rolf Luft, MD, of a young Swedish woman who had nonthyroidal hypermetabolism due to loose coupling of muscle mitochondria. Since then, the development of the fields of mitochondrial genetics and related mitochondrial-based diseases has been stunning, indeed, over the past several decades and the discipline has earned the designation of mitochondrial medicine. DiMauro, Hirano, and Schon have compiled a brilliant book encapsulating our current knowledge of mitochondrial function and mitochondrial-based diseases in 14 well-focused chapters. Mitochondrial functions are elegantly reviewed beginning with “Introduction: the Birth of Mitochondrial Medicine” by Prof Rolf Luft, reviewing his experience with his original patient. As he states:

This is the story of how basic studies in a single patient provided a stimulus to what is now an active and growing field.

This expanded field of mitochondrial-based diseases is reviewed in separate chapters describing mitochondrial diseases including encephalopathies, myopathies, and peripheral neuropathies; mitochondrial cardiology; mitochondrial ophthalmology; mitochondrial gastroenterology; mitochondrial otology; mitochondrial endocrinology; mitochondrial nephrology; mitochondrial hematology and oncology; mitochondrial reproductive medicine; mitochondrial psychiatry; and, finally, mitochondrial-based neurodegenerative disorders. The book concludes on summarizing therapeutic approaches and future directions for research.

The book is richly illustrated with clear and lucid diagrams describing mitochondrial structure, molecular functions, and specific disease-related mutations. It presents an exciting and dynamic new publishing venture into a rapidly evolving field of molecular medicine and one that encapsulates virtually all of medicine. As the editors state in the preface,

We have put together in a single book authoritative and—as much as the rapid progress in this field allows it—state-of-the art reviews of mitochondrial diseases in all major subspecialties of medicine.

The fact that all 3 editors and several contributors are all at 1 institution, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, provided a great opportunity for cohesive planning of the book, providing a uniformity of style and minimizing potential overlaps. Twenty-eight of the world's experts on mitochondrial medicine have contributed to the book, including 8 of the 14 chapters written by recognized experts from other institutions around the world. They have provided a chapter on mitochondrial psychiatry because it deserves, in their stated view, more attention both for clinical and therapeutic reasons and

because it offers a window on the pathogenic mechanisms of affective and behavioral disorders.

The book is dedicated to Lewis P. (Bud) Rowland, MD, because of his inspiration to the editors and in honor of his 80th birthday. The 3 editors have been working together on translational research in mitochondrial diseases for many years because of “Bud Rowland's vision, encouragement, and support.” The book is dedicated to him “ as a token of [their] gratitude and affection.”

Bud Rowland has mentored generations of neurology students, residents, and colleagues. His infectious enthusiasm and scholarship for clinical neurology and neuroscience are legendary and widely appreciated worldwide. He has been recognized by many honors and awards but, as the editors state, he maintains throughout a totally unaffected and direct manner of style that is so refreshing and disarming. Dr Rowland, by precept and example, brought together DiMauro, Hirano, and Schon to create this masterpiece text of Mitochondrial Medicine, and his reward will be to achieve what he does best,

to attract medical students and residents to this fascinating and still rapidly progressing area of clinical research.

Neurologists, psychiatrists, internists, pediatricians, geneticists, and neuroscientists, among others, will benefit greatly from reading this wonderful book. It provides a wealth of clinical and molecular information indispensable to the clinician and physician-scientist alike.

Prose ★★★★

Illustrations ★★★★

Science ★★★★

Usefulness ★★★★

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Article Information

Correspondence: Dr Rosenberg, Department of Neurology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75236-3239 (archneurol@jama-archives.org).