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From The CriticsReviewer: Jay P. Goldsmith, MD (Tulane University School of Medicine)
Description: This book, another in the Neonatology Questions and Controversies Series, highlights infectious and hematologic diseases and pathophysiology with a collection of 16 distinct contributions on various aspects of the physiology and cellular aspects of immune response and modulation, developmental physiology of the hematopoietic system, and controversies regarding various therapies, including treatment of thrombocytopenia, transfusion therapy, and the approach to the neutropenic neonate.
Purpose: At first glance, the collection of topics seems to lack a common theme. However, according to the editors, the topics all "contribute to provide a glimpse of how the neonate must utilize cells of the hematologic and immune systems to thwart the onslaught of microbial challenges." This is a worthy objective since infection plays such an important role in the treatment of the neonate. The editors have for the most part met their goal, although the book is heavily weighted toward developmental biology and pathophysiology, rather than application of the science to clinical practice.
Audience: Neonatologists, pediatric hematologists, and infectious disease physicians are the intended audience. The book is written at a level that would appeal to scientists and advanced practice students such as fellows in these fields. The editors are internationally recognized in their respective fields and the contributors are a diverse group of physicians and scientists from institutions worldwide.
Features: The contributions review areas of recent research and controversy in neonatal hematology, infectious disease, and immunology. The topics as well as the contributors are diverse, with most of the emphasis on the developmental biology of the immune and hematopoietic systems. Clinical topics include issues and controversies in thrombocytopenia, red cell transfusions, thrombotic disorders, breast milk and viral infections and fungal infections. As a clinician, I was impressed with the currency of the references, and I especially enjoyed Dr. Ohls' chapter on why, when, and how to transfuse neonates. The book has limited illustrations.
Assessment: Like many in this series, this volume is not a complete book on any of the topics in the title. The editors have selected a group of controversial and important topics in these fields and have chosen contributors who have written up-to-date summaries of the current knowledge. For these topics, there are few sources of such outstanding reviews. However, readers may need to go to standard textbooks for general clinical information in these areas.