1. Duffy, Lisa V. PhD(c) CPNP-PC CNRN

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J. Aicardi, London: Mac Keith Press, 2009, 966 pages, $335.00, ISBN 1-898683-59-X.


Diseases of the Nervous System in Childhood (3rd ed.) is well-regarded in the field of pediatric neurology as a "must have." The third edition of this classic text stays true to its reputation by providing the reader with a comprehensive overview of every aspect of pediatric neurology. The preface to the current edition states that the text is clinically based and meant for physicians who care for children with a variety of diseases involving the nervous system. However, I would argue that the text is also an invaluable resource for the nurse practicing in an advanced practice role within pediatric neurology.


The disorders presented in this text are classified under broader categories, which are divided into 11 parts. These 11 parts are described as neonatal neurology, CNS malformations and chromosomal abnormalities, consequences of interference with brain development, metabolic disorders, postnatal extrinsic insults, tumors and vascular disorders, paroxysmal disorders, visual and auditory disorders, neuromuscular disease, neurological manifestations of systemic disease, and developmental disorders. Each part is then further subdivided into chapters that discuss specific diagnoses. Within these chapters, figures and tables are presented that synthesize or supplement the information and are provided in a way that is clear and comprehensive.


A general overview is provided for each diagnosis that is presented. This overview includes information pertaining to the pathophysiology, classification, clinical manifestations, disease course, treatment, and prevention for each condition. The information provided is clear and concise and serves as an excellent reference for the practitioner caring for children with these conditions. However, because the text includes such an extensive list of neurological diagnoses, the description of each condition is brief, and additional resources are necessary for more in-depth information regarding the ongoing management of the child with each condition. As the goal of the text is to present clinical information for the practicing physician, the impact these conditions have on the child and his or her family is rarely discussed. The bedside nurse may not find this text helpful because the nursing implications of caring for these children and their families are also not considered. Therefore, I would not recommend this text for the bedside nurse, student, or family of a child with the condition.


Pediatric neurology is a field where knowledge about rare conditions is advancing everyday. For this reason, it is important for the practitioner to identify resources to help guide them in their clinical practice. Diseases of the Nervous System in Childhood (3rd ed.) provides a comprehensive look at the wide range of nervous system diseases of childhood and should be included in the library of any healthcare provider practicing in the field of pediatric neurology.


Reviewed by Lisa V. Duffy, PhD(c) CPNP-PC CNRN, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA.