Title: Multiple Sclerosis – the facts
Authors: Sandra Amor and Hans Van Noort
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2012
Reviewer: Carol Singleton, Queen’s nurse, clinical project manager end of life care, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
What was it like?
This is the first edition of this book, which is part of “the facts” series consisting of similar books covering a range of medical conditions from asthma to prostate cancer and schizophrenia.
There are eight chapters in the book covering what is multiple sclerosis (MS), what does it mean to have it, who gets MS, is it hereditary, two on what causes MS, which drugs may suppress MS and finally which non-conventional treatments may help suppress MS. The glossary at the beginning of the book covers words that may be previously unknown to readers in a brief but useful manner. It also contains interesting photographs of cross sections of the brain, MRI scans ,slides of various cells and other images from microscopes, all used to illustrate explanations more clearly.
At the end of each chapter there is a list of additional reading most of which are journal articles that non-medical readers may have difficulty accessing but at the end of the book there is a list of five useful websites, and each chapter begins with brief key points covered within the chapter.
The last sentence of the preface is as follows ”If you as a reader should feel that additional areas need to be included or amended, please do not hesitate to let us know, since this book is ultimately for you”. I have never seen this before in a book and it is re-assuring that the authors are interested in readers’ views.
What were the highlights?
The key points at the start of each chapter are a useful summary, which I found helpful to read both and after reading the chapter.
Strengths & weaknesses:
Brief but clearly understandable explanations are provided throughout this book without appearing to be patronising to non-medically qualified readers.
The only weakness I can see is that it will be necessary to regularly review and produce new editions of this book in the fast-moving world of research and treatments for MS but as this already happens with other subjects in this series, this should not be a problem.
Who should read it?
Anybody who has MS, their families and health workers would find this book useful to update their knowledge and consolidate the latest information on treatments.
84 pages long, this book does not over face the reader and I found it so interesting that I read it all but this is not necessary. The readers can easily find the areas they are interested in from the index at the back of the book.