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Choline and lecithin in brain disorenrs (nutrition and the brain vol 5) edited by Ande Barbeau John H. Grozudon and Richard Wurtman Raven Press New York 1979 $39

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Choline and Lecithin i n Brain Disorders
(Nutrition and the Brain, Vol 5)
Edited by And& Barbeau,John H . Grozudon,
and Richard Wurtman
Raven Press, New York, 1979
This multiauthored book is a composite of thirty-seven
chapters and an appendix contributed by participants in a
symposium held in December, 1978. The authors’ backgrounds are diverse, ranging from basic pharmacology to
clinical psychiatry; yet all share common interest in some
aspect of neural cholinergic mechanisms.
The book is divided into five sections. The first deals
mainly with the biochemical synthesis of brain acetylcholine; the chapters by Jenden and by Ansell and Spanner
are exceptionally good. Chapters of the second section
describe the dietary sources of choline and lecithin,
methodological aspects of their measurement, and their
metabolic fate and pharmacokinetics. For some reason, the
chapter on high-affinity uptake of choline is included in this
section. The third section is primarily concerned with
physiology and pharmacology of the central cholinergic
system; the chapter by the McGeers is a good review of
central cholinergic pathways. Despite the title, only the
fourth and fifth sections describe the efficacy of choline and
lecithin and other more conventional cholinergic agents in
the treatment of a wide variety of movement disorders and
psychiatric diseases. In some chapters the authors reiterate findings previously published. Other authors describe
new clinical trials comprising so few patients that they are
hardly adequate for scientific analysis. Although the results
are sometimes conflicting, claims are made that “precursor-control” therapy yields salutary results in Huntington’s chorea, tardive dyskinesia, Friedreich’s ataxia, Alzheimer’s dementia, and mania.
Like most multiauthored books, the style and quality of
presentation vary widely from chapter to chapter. Most of
the chapters are well referenced and up-to-date. Although
choline and lecithin therapy may not prove to be the longawaited cure for a number of imporrant neurological and
psychiatric diseases, this book should be of interest and a
source of reference to those neurologists, psychiatrists, and
neurobiologists who are concerned with the central cholinergic system.
Sami I . Harik, M.D
Department of Neurology ( 0 4 - 5 )
University of Miami
School of Medicine
PO Box 01 6960
Miami, FL33101
100 Annals of Neurology Vol 9 N o 1 January 1981
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lecithin, 1979, wurtman, barbeau, disorenrs, grozudon, richards, brain, new, john, york, andes, edited, rave, choline, pres, vol, nutrition
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