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R King. (£125.00.) Arnold, 1999. ISBN: 0 340 58666 4
Written to help those involved in interpreting peripheral nerve biopsies this atlas deals with a subject largely unknown to the general pathologist. It is divided into two parts. The shorter first part includes most of the text, which here, as elsewhere, is clear and detailed. It covers normal structure, biopsy technique, artefacts produced by processing and handling, morphometry, and the changes caused by degeneration, regeneration, and demyelination. The second part describes aspects of nerve pathology. Four chapters relate to structure and address the pathological changes seen in the axon, Schwann cell, myelin, and extracellular space, respectively. Cellular infiltrations and parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections are considered next; a chapter on perineurial abnormalities follows and one on abnormalities of the endoneurial blood vessels ends the work. A written introduction, never more than two pages long, precedes the illustrations, which show resin embedded material as light or electron micrographs, and are large and clear. An appendix giving referenced details of processing schedules is followed by a comprehensive alphabetical list of 570 references, which includes some original descriptions. The index identifies each subject as a main entry, an inclusion in tables, and when mentioned as a feature of a differential diagnosis.
This atlas is a well structured and easily accessed source of much information that should be appreciated by neuropathologists in training and by more senior colleagues. It will help the general histopathologist attempting to interpret a nerve biopsy, and the clinician involved in nerve biopsy will also find much of practical value. It is a work that can be recommended to all those involved in peripheral nerve biopsy and should be available in all departments of neuropathology and histopathology as a companion volume to the standard texts.