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Recent Advances in Paediatrics. Edited by T J David. (Pp 229; £30 paperback.) Churchill Livingstone, 1995. ISBN 0-443-05308-1 .
Paediatrics is a broad discipline. There is always the possibility that the most experienced of us will meet a problem or a diagnosis that we have never met before. Advances in the understanding of disease or developments in treatment and management are often published in specialist journals which we can only read if they fall within our own field. When we know that we are puzzled we can get help. We can seek specialist advice, or undertake an appropriate literature review. Our biggest mistakes occur when we do not know where our areas of ignorance lie: the black holes of continuing education. To guard against this we must read and study widely and when we do this we must pay attention to all branches of paediatrics.
Recent Advances in Paediatrics provides a major contribution in this field. Twelve review articles on topics of interest to all paediatricians are of sufficient depth to cover the subject but short enough to be digested by the non-specialist. All are up to date and well referenced. The paediatrician who reads them can be confident that he has the subjects covered.
Of the 12 chapters, six are in ambulatory or community paediatrics, four in a specialist field, and two in tropical paediatrics. I was helped particularly by Baxter and Rittey’s article on epilepsy with its up to date classification of syndromes.
The best bit is kept till the end: Professor David’s personal literature review for 1994. This consists of one line summaries of a wide variety of articles of general paediatric interest collected under topic headings. It serves as an excellent reminder of the ground which has been covered during the year as well as being a starting point for a possible literature search.
The series Recent Advances has an established reputation for quality and this edition has maintained that reputation. It can never cover the whole of paediatrics, but taken with its predecessors it makes a major contribution to the book shelf of any paediatrician.
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