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By Carl E Clarke. (Pp 103; £14.95.) Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2000. ISBN 1-85315-486-5.
This is a little gem and the author is to be congratulated on managing to deliver what he set out to do and give a review on the entire spectrum of Parkinson's disease in a concise format.
The strength of this user friendly book comes from its clear presentation, usage of flow charts, algorithms, bullet point summaries, and quality references that render it pleasurable to browse.
Despite its text being pared down to essentials, it manages to provide sufficient scientific evidence but without overwhelming the non-expert with technical jargon. Areas of controversy are also presented in a fair and largely unbiased way with reference to Cochrane reviews and the most relevant clinical trials.
The highlights include the excellent chapter on pathophysiology, the simplified functional anatomy of basal ganglia including the rationale behind various surgical interventions, the controversy surrounding selegiline, advice on management for various “neglected” areas in Parkinson's disease, and the clear message on importance of “quality of life” in future research.
My quibbles include the practical usefulness in explaining the principle behind positron emission tomography and the various tracers used, and perhaps the omission on how an up to date Parkinson's disease service should be organised.
Overall, this useful book will definitely appeal to a more general audience dealing with Parkinson's disease. Personally, I look forward to seeing more data from the on-going medical and surgical trials and hopefully these will be incorporated into its next edition.
The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.