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Walz W, ed. ($125.00.) Humana Press, 1999. ISBN 0 896 03540 9.
This book reviews the mechanisms of neuronal damage and the accompanying cellular reactions that are triggered by cerebral ischaemia. The contributors are largely based in North America, and many have a distinguished record in this field. The first contribution is a very useful overview of the mechanisms of cerebral ischaemic damage, which is followed by five sections that focus on neuronal damage, with particularly interesting sections on calcium overload and neuroprotection as potentially mediated by cytokines. The remaining four contributions focus on the cellular changes following ischaemia, the highlights of which for me were an illuminating discussion on necrosis versus apoptosis in neurones, and the reprogramming of gene expression in neurones after ischaemia. The text throughout the book is accompanied by black and white line diagrams and tables, with only occasional monochrome illustrations. The book is well referenced (up to 1998) and there is a helpful index.
Cerebral ischaemia is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Western countries and so this book will be welcomed by both clinical and basic neuroscientists, neuropathologists, and neurophysiologists. It is rather specialised for most general departmental collections, but I would recommend this as a library purchase. Over the past few weeks the book has been used by undergraduate and postgraduate students, post-docs, and neuropathologists and we have all found it helpful (without being overwhelming) and clearly presented (without being simplistic).