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epilepsy fast facts

Fast Facts Epilepsy (5th Edition)

M Brodie, S Schachter, P Kwan
Health Press
2012

Review

Rona Eade, Epilepsy Information Manager

Billed on the Health Press website as “all you need to know about epilepsy without breaking a sweat”, this is a medical handbook for healthcare professionals working in the diagnosis, investigation and treatment of epilepsy in adults and children.

This is a small book to cover a huge condition such as epilepsy, so is necessarily limited in the level of depth it can go into. However, it is information-rich, and is written clearly without detracting from the quality of information. The information itself is not unique, but the presentation in this book makes it easily accessible. Although it may not be detailed enough for practicing epileptologists, it is a good resource for general neurologists, and keen colleagues in primary care who want to understand more about this condition.

This is the fifth edition, from the ‘fast fact’ series of books, on epilepsy. All chapters of the book have been updated for this edition. Its authors come from the UK, USA and Australia, so this book has a wide geographical audience.

It starts with a useful glossary of epilepsy-specific terminology, although much of the general medical terminology is not included in the glossary for this audience. The text is broken down into clear and sensible chapter topics, following a standard ‘chronological’ order. Helpfully, the back cover of the book contains colour-coded headings for the chapters, which are reflected on the edge of the pages, making it quick and easy to locate specific sections.

The information is presented clearly and the use of text boxes helps to highlight tables, graphs and key points (which themselves are a useful summary of each chapter’s contents). Each chapter ends with a valuable list of ‘key references’ for more in-depth reading on each topic.

A large proportion of the book is given over to pharmacological treatment and anti-epileptic drugs. Although this is of key importance in the management of epilepsy, this emphasises the small amount of information on other topics such as issues around specific population groups (particularly children, young people, older adults and people with learning disabilities). Although it is positive to see that the issue of ‘quality of life’ is included – which is often of great importance to individuals with epilepsy themselves – it is done so in limited detail (which may encourage an underestimation of the impact of epilepsy on, and importance of, this issue).

Overall, this book delivers what it promises: delivering key information about epilepsy in a succinct and easy to access way.