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BOOK REVIEWS Brain Dysfunction in Children: Etiology, Diagnosis andManagement. Edited by Perry Black. New York: Raven Press, 1981. Pp. 302, illustrated. $35.00. At first glance, diis book instills a sense of excitement for an academician or clinician who works with children. The title indicates a comprehensive view of a very exciting and rapidly advancing field. In addition, the list of contributors is impressive and includes people who have been major contributors to the advances in this area. Unfortunately, the book does not live up to our expectations. Regrettably, Perry has allowed his book to follow the course of all too many edited volumes. The significantly differing styles ofa number of the contributions interfere with smooth chapter-to-chapter transition. The editor has not used commentary to help the transition and has permitted some unnecessary overlap between chapters . In addition, although the text contains very interesting contributions from the fields of neurology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, psychology, and education, there isremarkably little effortto integrate theconceptsthatareoffered. While a 300-page book clearly could not be the definitive work, a volume oftins size, with such distinguished contributors, could have provided us a reasonably concise, cogent, and integrated overview of the brain dysfunctions seen in children. The book is divided into two major sections: (1) etiology and (2) diagnosis and management. For a book that seems to be oriented more to the clinician, there is a general lack of clinical descriptions during the discussions in die etiology section . Of note, however, are some excellent illustrations which could serve ably as teaching aids. Despite these difficulties, this book is not without value. The chapter by the late Herbert G. Birch represents a classical summary of his very important work. Another contribution of some substance is that of C. Keith Conners. In his chapter, he discusses, from the pharmacological point of view, the management of children with relatively minimal brain dysfunctions. Up-todate , the article represents a brief yet very useful summary for pediatricians, family practitioners, residents, and students. A number of the chapters in the latter part of the book—on diagnosis and management—do not appear to be particularly useful for medical practitioners. Several chapters are, in fact, clearly quite weak (e.g., those on sociology and recreation). The final article, on die concepts of care versus cure, was equally unimpressive. Although apparendy directed toward die medical practitioner, the psychiatric aspects ofthese problems were not delineated and discussed to an appropriate extent. Permission to reprint a book review printed in this section may be obtained only from die author. Perspectives in Biology and Mediane, 26, 1 · Autumn 1982 \ 163 I find it difficult to recommend the purchase of this book, although it might make for pleasant reading while one is browsing in the library. Selected chapters might be very useful for clinicians for review or in residency or medical student training. Were the editor to undertake the integration of the material and provide some guiding commentary for each of the chapters, then controversies might be more clearly identified (e.g., Birch's somewhat controversial research), and clinically useful concepts in dieory and practice might emerge. This is a book that, in its second edition, may have considerable promise. Bennett L. Leventhal Departments ofPsychiatry and Pediatrics University of Chicago Rainbows, Halos and Glories. By Robert Greenler. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Pp. 304, illustrated. $24.95. Walter Reed with his colleagues saved the world from yellow fever at least for die past 80 years. When he was a military surgeon in Nebraska 100 years ago, one morning when die temperature was far below zero he saw spectacular sun dogs, parhelia. He was so impressed that he drew a picture of them in his monthly report to the post commander. Last winter as I rode my bicycle to work in Iowa City when the temperature was a mere 20 F, though die air a few hundred feet up must have been way below zero, I was delighted and almost distracted by a gorgeous parhelion. After my short bike ride I alerted colleagues, secretaries, nurses, and patients to rush to the window and see a sight diey had never noticed. Today most people live like troglodytes; diey...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 163-164
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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