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Childhood epilepsies and brain development
  1. SHEILA J WALLACE, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist
  1. University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK

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    Childhood epilepsies and brain development, A Nehlig, J Motte, SL Moshe, P Plouin, eds. Current problems in epilepsy, vol 14, pp 311, illus. John Libbey & Co Ltd, London, 1999. £59.00, hardback. ISBN 0 86196 578 7 ****

    Impressions of energy and enthusiasm for their subjects are imparted by the editors and authors of this product of a dialogue between clinicians and scientists which took place in 1997. The importance of considering developmental age is prominent in all the contributions. These are grouped in six parts: changes in excitability with age and the role of neurotransmitters; lesional partial epilepsies and neuronal migration disorders; age-specific syndromes; non-genetic experimental models of childhood epilepsies; consequences of seizures in the immature and mature brain; and consequences of treatment on brain development. On the whole, the relevance of animal studies, mostly in rats, to human problems is well-considered. Many chapters emphasise gaps in knowledge in a stimulating manner, giving the impression that the authors found their meeting very fruitful, and that, in the future, they are likely to update this text. On the whole, the presentation is clear, but abbreviations are not always explained. Reproduction of the black-and-white prints is often poor, and more arrows would be helpful, particularly for the brain slices. The colour prints are of much higher quality: their presentation in long-term effects of recurrent seizures on the developing brain is especially pleasing. New considerations on the genesis of hippocampal sclerosis are examined in several chapters. A wealth of information relevant to the practice of paediatric epileptology is presented in a form which is intelligible to the clinician.

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