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From The CriticsReviewer: Andrea Starrett, MD (Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: This is the fourth edition of this pocket manual on pediatric neurology in the House Officer Series. It is written to guide the house officer in recognizing and treating neurologic diseases in children. The previous edition was published in 1999.
Purpose: The book aims to serve as a point of departure for house officers in clinical situations by prompting them to recognize the presenting complaints, differential diagnosis, differentiating clinical features, and appropriate evaluation of patients on a child neurology service. It would also be useful to a busy practitioner for a quick review of a child's complaint in the office. Both authors are professors of child neurology at the State University of New York in Buffalo who have extensive experience in guiding house officer education.
Audience: The book is written for house officers in pediatrics or neurology to provide a basis of clinical findings in infants and children.
Features: The book begins with four general chapters on clinical neuroanatomy, growth and development, neurologic history, and neurologic examination. This is followed by chapters covering specific disorders, such as, neuromuscular diseases, hemiparesis, stroke, neurocutaneous syndromes, or specific clinical situations such as the floppy infant, headache, back pain, and abnormal head size. All chapters are introduced by a clinical case which is followed by a brief discussion and list of differential diagnoses, pertinent clinical findings or symptoms, evaluation procedures, and treatment. The chapters vary in their depth with those describing classical neurological disorders, such as neuropathies, muscle diseases, and brain tumors being the most extensive. The neurodevelopmental disorders, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, and developmental delay are covered less thoroughly. The chapters on seizure disorders and anti-epileptic drugs are extensive; but unfortunately, the dosages of the drugs are provided in a separate appendix at the end of the book. Other drugs commonly used in pediatric neurology such as psychostimulants, SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants and sedatives, and alpha agonists are listed, but their side effects and clinical usage are not discussed. Each chapter ends with a suggested reading list from standard textbooks and relatively current as well as classic journal articles.
Assessment: This book would be a useful manual for medical students, residents, and busy practitioners to remind them of the differential diagnosis and appropriate work-up of children with neurological problems. As the authors point out, it is only a beginning for a comprehensive understanding of these disorders.