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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: John A. Robinson, MD (Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine)
Description: This new edition encompasses putative etiologies, clinical course, and treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Unique aspects of the book are an unusual alphabetized bibliography and patient/health provider resources. The previous edition was published in 1987.
Purpose: Its purpose is to centralize the existing body of knowledge pertinent to SLE. SLE is a common and, in some instances, a highly morbid disease, so a centralized source of knowledge concerning it would be a worthy goal. This book meets the objectives in part, but the attempt to provide all existing facts relevant to SLE, however relevant or irrelevant, attenuates the book's user-friendliness.
Audience: Rheumatologists/nephrologists and internists appear to be the targeted audiences. Some, but not all rheumatologists, will be seriously interested in a encyclopedic text that describes a disease of moderate interest. The two authors are highly credible authorities; however, the credibility of some of the contributors is less striking.
Features: The illustrations are adequate with average pedagogic value. Although some might think that it is impossible to overreference a book, this text disputes that belief. The unique features include a useful patient and health care provider guide to SLE.
Assessment: There is no question that SLE is an interesting disease, but does it merit a text of this magnitude? Moreover, because there have been no dramatic leaps in understanding of its pathogenesis, and the clinical course has not drastically changed, the need for an expanded new edition is not compelling. In a general sense, this edition misses a golden opportunity to present new or provocative concepts of SLE causation, but instead it dwells on overworked variations of immune complex etiology and long existing animal models, neither of which will provide significant clarity of insight into the disease. There has been no attempt to cull the wheat from the chaff. The result is an encyclopedic body of citations, apparently encompassing all SLE writing, past or present, within this galaxy. This book represents a well-meaning attempt to provide a central source of the body pertinent to SLE. The senior author is an excellent writer; he should strongly consider revamping the next edition to reflect his vast experience and delete the bells and whistles.