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Neurobiology of Spinal Cord Injury
Edited by Robert G. Kalb and Stephen M. Strittmatter
Totowa, NJ, Humana Press, 1999
304 pp, illustrated, $125.00
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a relatively common and unfortunate injury that afflicts young individuals. With the advent
of more skilled immediate care and the use of steroids, there
has been an improvement in the degree of recovery; however,
despite this improvement, many are left with significant residual deficits, in part due to lack of regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS). After SCI, there is necrosis with
surrounding areas of tissue injury, apoptosis, and demyelination of tracts. It is the goal of caregivers to minimize all of
these processes such that supraspinal pathways that regenerate and connect with spinal cord pattern generators can help
with volitional movements. Understanding the basic neurobiological events that govern these processes will lay the
foundation for developing new rational therapies, including
cell and tissue transplantation, that will help affected individuals.
In this multiauthored book, which is not intended to be a
comprehensive treatise on SCI, new and exciting neurobiological aspects of selected topics related to SCI are reviewed
very well. Thus, this book is recommended to all investigators interested in spinal cord research but also to students
and others interested in tissue injury and repair in the CNS.
The authors of each chapter are authorities on the respective
topic of discussion, and as a result, the chapters are well written. The book starts with an excellent chapter on the models
of SCI and the consequent tissue damage with attempts at
repair, followed by several excellent chapters on strategies of
repair that succinctly address all of the major issues concerning repair and regeneration in the CNS. The chapter on axonal guidance and inhibitory signals is an excellent review of
a large and complicated body of work. Other chapters deal
with the issues of demyelination and its correction, which
results in normalizing the electrical properties of the axon,
and of tissue transplantation.
Throughout the book, reference is made to the importance of neuronal survival and apoptosis; however, there is
no detailed review of the current information on neuronal
survival and apoptosis. The chapter dealing with calcium and
cell death does cover some aspects of neuronal apoptosis but
focuses on calcium effects. It was also surprising that in this
chapter the emphasis is on N-methyl-D-aspartate–mediated
death, and the authors acknowledge the importance of ␣amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionicacid(AMPA)–
mediated death in SCI. It would have been reasonable to
include more on AMPA-mediated death and some discussion
on the role of glutamate transporters. Also, despite a discussion of several calcium-binding proteins, a notable omission
was any mention of calpain.
An inherent problem of a multiauthored book is the detail
included in each chapter. This book is no different in that
there is unevenness in the amount of historical details, experimental methods, the style of writing, and the organization of references. Also, by the nature of the subjects covered
© 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
in this book, since publication new and exciting information
has come to light, including work from Strittmatter’s group.
Nevertheless, this book is recommended to all interested in
CNS injury and repair, particularly SCI.
Gihan Tennekoon, M.D.
Philadelphia, PA
Central Nervous System Angiitis
By James W. Schmidley
Boston, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2000
215 pp, illustrated, $85.00
Dr. Schmidley has singled-handedly provided us with a succinct, though comprehensive, much needed monograph on a
topic of tremendous clinical interest, despite its rarity, central
nervous system (CNS) vasculitis. The book is written in a
lucid style, easy and enjoyable to read yet a critical, clinically
detailed, well-researched treatise on the topic. The author
was motivated to write this book by what he perceives as
misconceptions about the topic. He goes a long way, including reviewing unpublished material, toward debunking the
myths associated with this entity.
The text is divided into 10 chapters with an abundance of
clinically useful tables smattered throughout, almost 600 references, three color plates, and a useful index. The text begins with three chapters on isolated CNS angitiis, covering
clinical, pathologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic aspects as
well as pathophysiology. Chapters then include CNS angiitis
associated with the postpartum CNS angiitis period, lymphoma, sarcoid, giant cell arteritis and amyloid, polyarteritis
nodosa, the systemic necrotizing vasculitis, other connective
tissue and inflammatory diseases (Takayasu’s disease; Kawasaki syndrome; rheumatoid arthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus; Sjögren’s syndrome; scleroderma; relapsing polychondritis; Henoch-Schönlein purpura; inflammatory bowel
diseases; urticarial, allergic, and serum sickness), selected infectious diseases (rickettsial, spirochetal, and viral including
cytomegalovirus, human immunodeficiency virus, and herpes
zoster), drug abuse, Behcet’s disease, and other disorders of
the eye. The chapter on pathogenesis includes a short discussion of basic immunology with a brief review of cytokines.
Case summaries are broken down into different “presentations”: focal, fluctuating, encephalitic, degenerative, ischemic, chronic meningitis, dementia, demyelinating disease,
myelopathic, and intracranial hemorrhage. Brief, insightful
commentaries follow most of these presentations. There are
several wonderful clinicopathologic case studies and discussions.
In one table listing vasculitis look-alikes, several entities
appear to be missing, including fibromuscular dysplasia, amphetamines, cocaine, phenylpropanolamine, phentermine,
moyamoya disease, and radiation arteropathy. Concerning
cocaine and vasculitis, some of the cases that Schmidley argues support small vessel inflammation could also be due to
leukocyte diapedesis through the vessel wall to the ischemic/
infarcted parenchyma. He also believes that a stronger case
can be made for vasculitis related to cocaine than to amphetamines (debunking a myth?). There is only one figure of a
cerebral angiogram, and its quality is not optimal. The book
has generally been carefully edited. I found only two typo-
graphical errors and one error of grammar. There are three
high quality color photomicrographs.
This book is a clinical gem that will be very useful and
could improve clinical acumen and practice. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any clinician (neurologist,
house officer or fellow, neurosurgeon, neuroradiologist, internist, and rheumatologist) who includes in a differential diagnosis “rule-out CNS vasculitis” on a patient’s chart or consult or any basic scientist trying to uncover the multitude of
mysteries associated with its etiology, mechanisms, and
Steven R. Levine, MD
Detroit, MI
Neurodynamics of Personality
By Jim Grigsby and David Stevens
New York, Guilford Publications, Inc., 2000
425 pp, illustrated, $42.50, hardback
Multiple Sclerosis
By George D. Perkin and Jerry S Wolinsky
San Francisco, Health Press, 2000
68 pp, illustrated, $19.95, paperback
Differential Diagnosis in Neurology and Neurosurgery
By Sotirios A. Tsementzis
New York, Thieme Publishers, 2000
336 pp, illustrated, $35.00, paperback
Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Intravenous
Edited by Gerard Said
London, Martin Dunitz Publishers, 2000
200 pp, illustrated, $49.95, paperback
An Anatomy of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of
the Mind
By Ian Glynn
New York, Oxford University Press, 2000
46 pp, illustrated, $30.00
Handbook of Headache
By Randolf W. Evans and Ninan T. Matthew
Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000
352 pp, illustrated, $36.95
Principles of Neural Science, Fourth Edition
By Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz, and
Thomas M. Jessell
Appleton & Lange, 2000
1414 pp, $85.00, hardback
The Facial Nerve, May’s Second Edition
By Mark May and Barry M. Schaitkin
New York, Thieme Publishers, 1999
912 pp, illustrated, $199.00, hardback
Medical Neurotoxicology: Occupational and
Environmental Causes of Neurological Dysfunction
Edited by Peter G. Blain and John B. Harris
New York, Oxford University Press, 1999
388 pp, illustrated, $150.00, hardback
Zen and the Brain
By James H. Austin
Cambridge, The MIT Press, 1999
844 pp, illustrated, $24.95, paperback
Medical Neurosciences: An Approach to Anatomy,
Pathology, and Physiology by Systems and Levels,
Fourth Edition
By Eduardo E. Benarroch, Barbara F. Westmorelan, Jasper R.
Daube, Thomas J. Regan, and Burton A. Sandok
Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000
631 pp, illustrated, $39.95
On the Origins of Human Emotions: A Sociological
Inquiry into the Evolution of Human Affect
By Jonathan H. Turner
Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2000
189 pp, illustrated, $49.50, hardback
Atlas of Pain Management Injection Techniques
By Steven D. Waldman
Philadelphia, Harcourt Health Sciences, 2000
400 pp, illustrated, $140.00
Lexicon of Psychiatry, Neurology and the
Neurosciences, Second Edition
By Frank J. Ayd, Jr.
Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000
1,120 pp, illustrated, $69.95
Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Twenty-Ninth
By Dorland
Philadelphia, Harcourt Health Sciences, 2000
2088 pp, illustrated, $46.95
Headaches: Fast Facts
By Richard Peatfield and J. Keith Campbell
San Francisco, Health Press, 2000
65 pp, illustrated, $19.95
Spinal Cord Injury: A Guide for Living
By Sara Palmer, Kay H. Kriegsman, and Jeffery B. Palmer
Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000
288 pp, illustrated, $15.95, paperback
Annals of Neurology
Vol 49
No 5
May 2001
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