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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia Wong, MD (Stanford University Medical Center)
Description: This is a basic, biostatistical analysis of current theories on the causes of atopic dermatitis in children and factors that may affect the natural history of the disease.
Purpose: The purpose is to fill a niche in the current literature on atopic dermatitis by providing an analysis of the current theories of this disease.
Audience: This multiauthored text will be of interest to pediatric dermatologists and pediatric allergists.
Features: Each chapter is a critical biostatistical analysis of the prevailing theories and supporting studies on the multifactorial causes of atopic dermatitis. What is the evidence and how good is the evidence that says we can modify the expression of atopy by breastfeeding and dietary manipulation? How does pollution play a role in atopic dermatitis? Is there an increase in atopic dermatitis with increasing age of the mother? These topics and more are discussed in detail. The book is peppered with tables and graphs. At the end of each chapter is a conclusion and a summary of the key points which is helpful. An up-to-date bibliography is included as well.
Assessment: The editor and contributors definitely fill a niche in the current literature written about atopic dermatitis. The contributors critical appraisal of the study designs makes readers realize there is a paucity of good double-blind placebo controlled studies on which we base our ideas and treatment of atopy. In fact, readers will find they learn less "hard facts" about the subject and more about the "assumptions" we call truth in this book. I am not aware of other books in the field in which the epidemiology of this disease is covered so comprehensively. I think the book is well-written and specialists in the field will find it informative. Practicing general medical dermatologists will not be provided with information that will directly change their care of patients; however, they will be more educated and not perpetuate myths about cases of eczema.