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A Clinical Guide to Inherited Metabolic Diseases, 2nd edn
  1. R A F Bell

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Dr Clarke’s enthusiasm and erudition are evident on every page of this book, which is handily sized, and, wonder of wonders, costs only £30.

Most of the chapters are written with a clinically based approach, and the chapters on basic principles in understanding inherited metabolic disease, neonatal screening, hypoglycaemia, metabolic acidosis, storage diseases, and dysmorphism will be read with a sensation of increasing revelation by just about any paediatrician, and those with a secure background in biochemistry and metabolic disease will pick up many nuggets of wisdom.

Why then, do I simply not recommend every paediatrician who sometimes deals with metabolic problems—and there must be few of us who do not—to rush out and buy a copy before such a gem either goes out of print or rises in price? My caveat is that this book’s clinical approach coupled with its encyclopaedic coverage of some topics means that several chapters leave the non-expert mentally breathless, and this effect is made worse by the absence of the structural formulae of the molecules named; this may be of little moment to those with these formulae at their fingertips, but that excludes rather a lot of us. By contrast the metabolic sections of “Nelson” and “Forfar and Arniel” clearly benefit from their inclusion.

So, for those on a unit dealing with many patients with inborn errors of metabolism, this book is invaluable, but general and trainee paediatricians who think they can read this book from start to finish and become initiated into the mysteries of metabolic disease are likely to be overwhelmed.

If you can peruse this paperback at your local medical bookshop, do so; you may find it an answer to prayer, and anyway, at just under £30 it won’t bankrupt anyone.

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