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Abnormal Cortical Development and Epilepsy: From Basic to Clinical Science.
  1. Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK

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Abnormal Cortical Development and Epilepsy: From Basic to Clinical Science.Edited by Roberto Spreafico, Giuliano Avanzini, and Frederick Andermann. (Pp 324; £39.00.) John Libbey, 1999. ISBN 0-86916-579-5.

Magnetic resonance imaging has revolutionised the understanding of the pathological substrates for epilepsies, particularly those that are of partial onset, start early in childhood, and are resistant to medical treatment. Based on a meeting held in the autumn of 1997, the content of this text is reasonably up to date. The main sections are on cortical development; animal models; electroclinical, imaging and neuropathological studies; genetic studies; and surgical approaches. The chapters are logically organised. The written content is easy to follow throughout clinical discussions, animal experiments, and genetic investigations. It is a shame that the illustrations, with the exception of 16 colour plates produced in the contribution on surgical pathology, are of rather poor quality. In many instances it is a struggle to make out the changes described in the pictures of MRIs. Among information of a more general nature there are comments on the importance for surgeons of the demonstration of extensive reorganisation of cortical representation of some sensory modes when cortical dysgenesis has occurred; it is suggested that Taylor-type dysplasias, associated with grey/white matter blurring on MRI, may be associated with abnormal organisation of the intracortical GABAergic system; studies on maturation of cortical physiological properties explain why hypsarrhythmia is unlikely to occur before three or four months; and tish rats are used to help with understanding of heterotopias. The contributions of homeobox genes are emphasised. Referencing is appropriate and extensive. Epileptologists, particularly those who treat children, could learn much from this text.

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