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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marilyn Ray, M.D.(Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: This is a comprehensive review of neurocutaneous disease written by well qualified authors, several of whom are known experts in their particular field (i.e., Robert Gorlin for the basal cell nevus syndrome). In addition to descriptions of the disorders, the book includes a chapter on genetics and one on recognition of these conditions.
Purpose: The book is written for neurologists, dermatologists, geneticists, and pediatricians to review and in particular to update the biochemical and genetic basis of these diseases. It covers all of the neurocutaneous disorders and thus meets the authors' objective of providing readily accessible source of information about the clinical features and prognosis of these conditions together with their genetic basis.
Audience: Drs. Roach and Miller are neurologists who have taken an interest in emphasizing the cellular and biochemical basis of diseases. They have collected contributions by leaders in molecular genetics to achieve this goal. This book will be useful not only to practicing physicians but also to residents and students of genetics in general.
Features: This book covers the classic neurological syndromes which have cutaneous involvement. The approach is well organized, easily useable, and unique in its emphasis on the molecular basis of the disorders. The book includes an interesting introduction which uses a table dividing the abnormalities into types (i.e., skin, hair, ophthalmic, etc). It is curious, however, that in table 1.1 on skin lesions there is a designation of "rash like" lesions which is not commonly used terminology. Perhaps this section could have been omitted. Although the authors attempt to demonstrate cutaneous findings through the use of clinical photos, many are in black and white, limiting their usefulness. In addition, the figures used in the chapter on clinical recognition do not demonstrate the lesions as well the photos used in the individual chapters and could have been omitted.
Assessment: The unique aspect of this book lies in its emphasis on the biochemical and genetic basis of these diseases. It provides a useful source of reference for the general characteristics of these disorders as well as their molecular characteristics. Although I am not aware of any comparable book on this topic, aspects of this information can be found in general dermatology textbooks.