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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Greg Thaera, MD (Mayo Clinic Arizona)
Description: This book provides detailed answers to 100 questions, both common and not so common, on the diagnosis, treatment, and impact of multiple sclerosis. This edition includes new therapies that have been developed since the previous edition of five years ago.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a framework for multiple sclerosis patients and their families to understand the various aspects of the disease. These are worthwhile questions and answers, especially for the newly diagnosed who may not know what to expect and have many questions they may be afraid to ask.
Audience: The author has been a practicing neurologist for decades, and he started a multiple sclerosis center where there was a great need; certainly he is a foremost authority on the subject. The book has multiple audiences. The most obvious is the patient. While the book uses scientific terms, it provides ample definitions and explanations. More educated readers are likely to benefit the most from this book. Healthcare students, residents, and practitioners are also likely audiences. For example, as a senior neurology resident, I learned at least 10 novel important facts about multiple sclerosis.
Features: This book covers the known aspects of etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis for patients with multiple sclerosis. The author is joined in the discussion a patient who provides a fresh, alternate perspective. Both point out common pitfalls in understanding the disease, including use of unproven alternative therapies and the failure to acknowledge emotional stress as a trigger for MS relapses. Because of the patient's positive individual experience with the drug, natalizumab does get a disproportionate amount of attention. However, it is helpful for readers to understand how the medication has been helpful from a patient standpoint. The author's avoidance of steroids in favor of ACTH is an unusual and thought-provoking stance. I was hoping for a citation for some of his references, but this is a small loss as most readers would not have access to the scientific literature anyway. Finally, as a physician, I would recommend that future editions use and define the generic and brand names of medications together, rather than solely describing the commercial product.
Assessment: This is a concise and invaluable guide to multiple sclerosis for both new and experienced patients, caretakers, and medical providers. The author and the patient have done an excellent job crafting this book, and I applaud them for their hard work in this and their other endeavors supporting those with MS. This second edition is particularly valuable in light of new therapies for multiple sclerosis; however, with even more drugs planned for the over next few years, another update may be warranted!