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Edited by Margarete Pfäfflin, Robert T Fraser, Rupprecht Thorbecke, Ulrich Specht, and Peter Wolf. (Pp 365; £60.) John Libbey, 2001. ISBN 0-86196-610-4.
The 37 chapters of this book are derived from presentations that dealt with comprehensive care for epilepsy at a Bethel Cleveland Clinic Symposium (1999). Comprehensive care aims to incorporate the psychosocial aspects of disease to build “a framework for intervention and quality-of-life orientated outcome”. The two opening chapters provide a succinct overview of international research in the area and convincingly demonstrate the importance of a comprehensive approach to epilepsy care.
Many of the proceeding chapters are descriptions of their authors' local programmes for various aspects of comprehensive care, for example, psychological treatment for seizure prevention or vocational rehabilitation. These may provide some stimulus to workers initiating similar endeavours. However, in many cases, the material is mainly descriptive with variable treatment of the background literature and limited assessment of efficacy, particularly in comparison to other approaches. I found the three chapterson the economics of epilepsy an excellent introduction to this field with clear explanations of the economic concepts and research methodology involved.
Most readers will probably find this book of limited interest. This is perhaps inevitable for a collection of presentations from a conference, particularly where the subject is so broad in scope and must draw from many disciplines. It may, however, have been useful to include a more substantial section drawing together the different strands of the comprehensive approach.
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.
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