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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Chris Phillips, MD (Washington University Medical Center)
Description: In this book, Dr. Hughes takes lupus patients through the history of the disease, its manifestations, diagnostic tests, and therapy.
Purpose: The purpose is to create a greater awareness and understanding of lupus. This is important for a disease which remains greatly misunderstood by many, including those suffering from it. The book meets its objectives, describing the disease in easily understood language.
Audience: It is written for patients and their families by one of the foremost researchers in this field.
Features: The book describes the history of the disease, its manifestations in various organs, related diseases, diagnostic tests, and therapeutic modalities. I think it does a good job translating complex medical terms into easily understood descriptions. The book flows well, and the key points box at the beginning of each chapter effectively highlights the salient points. Some of the therapeutic information is already slightly out of date, which may be one shortcoming. Rituximab, for example, is praised as highly effective, but has more recently been the subject of large negative studies. Additionally, abatacept is described as an IL6 antagonist, which is incorrect.
Assessment: This book presents a unique viewpoint on lupus, because few books for patients are written by medical professionals. It is a useful reference that I can recommend to my patients. I do wonder, though, about its niche in light of patients' reliance on the Internet as a common source of information.