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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This book brings together a large amount of information about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in a clear, concise manner. Each chapter synthesizes what is known about CFS with respect to a particular subject. Of particular interest is the chapter that covers the available data on CFS in terms of the cross-talk between the immune, endocrine and nervous systems. The data in all the chapters are well referenced.
Purpose: Although the author does not indicate a particular purpose for writing this book, it is clear that it is an attempt to summarize what is currently known about the abnormalities of the immune system in patients suffering from CFS. Anyone who needs this information could find it by doing a search on one of the services. However, the author has put it all together in one slim volume saving much time and effort for others. The book is one of breadth rather than depth but with the references in hand, the depth can easily be obtained.
Audience: This is a book that is written for anyone who is interested in chronic fatigue syndrome. It will be useful for physicians, researchers, and sophisticated patients who need information on the immune system in CFS patients. The author is an expert in this area and conducts research on the immunotherapy of AIDS and CFS. He has also edited a number of books on CFS.
Features: The book brings together many of the findings relating to CFS that have appeared over the past 20-plus years. It is short enough so that it could easily be read cover to cover. However, the book is divided into chapters that focus on specific areas on which CFS has its greatest impact: the relationship between the nervous, immune and endocrine systems; the role of cytokines; how the cells of the immune system function and whether there is an imbalance among certain cell types; the relationship of CFS and autoimmune diseases; and current therapeutic approaches. Thus it would not be necessary to read it all if one were interested in some topic in particular. On the other hand, the text is only 79 pages while the references comprise an additional 32 pages.
Assessment: This is a small book packed full of information about CFS that would be useful to anyone who needs to learn something about the disease. The lengthy list of references provides a starting point for a search for more details. The author is an expert on this disease, which is reflected in the way the book is clearly written with just enough detail to focus on the areas that are important in research on CFS, as well as its treatment.