1. Section Editor(s): Woods, Jennifer

Article Content

M. J. Brodie, S. C. Schaeter, & P. Kwan, Abington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Health Press, 2012, 144 pages, $25.00, ISBN: 978-1-908541-12-3.


Fast Facts: Epilepsy is a quick, go-to, desk reference for the healthcare professional treating the adult or pediatric population. The layout of the book is precise, and the content is easily comprehendible. Each chapter is replete with sound information, key points, and key references. In addition, the book contains a listing of abbreviations, a glossary, links to useful resources, and an index.


The Introduction provides a brief, historical overview of epilepsy and the medical advances across centuries. Chapter 1 reviews the epidemiology, whereas Chapter 2 details the classification of seizures and syndromes utilizing text, tables, and figures. The third chapter discusses the evaluation and diagnosis of seizures. Of particular usefulness is a table describing points to consider in the patient suspect for seizure. Furthermore, the authors have included a table describing factors lowering seizure threshold as well as examples of abnormal electroencephalograms and brain scan images.


Chapters 5, 6, and 7 provide a thorough overview of the pharmacological and nonpharmacological management of seizures. Again, the authors utilize tables and figures to compliment the text. In terms of pharmacological management, the authors provide rationale for selection of antiepileptic drugs specific to seizure type, along with need for monotherapy versus combination therapy. Also included are considerations in selection of therapy such as child-bearing age, side effects of antiepileptic drugs, comorbidities, and potential drug interactions. Chapter 6 is dedicated to decriptions of the antiepileptic drugs to include the drug, indications, dosage, potential side effects, and interactions providing a more thorough rationale for drug selection specific to seizure type. Nonpharmacological choices include epilepsy surgery, vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, and alternative therapies such as the ketogenic diet and herbal remedies.


The remaining chapters concentrate on specific subset epilepsy populations. Chapter 7 is specific to the treatment and management of status epilepticus. Chapter 8 reviews the considerations necessary in the treatment of women of child-bearing age such as contraception, menses, and pregnancy. Special considerations are also necessary in the elderly population, teenagers, and those individuals with learning disabilities. Chapter 9 touches on the aspects of epilepsy on quality of life, whereas Chapter 10 gives a brief overview of advances in the treatment of epilepsy. At the conclusion of the book, the authors provide a guide of useful resources such as professional organizations and patient support groups.


Overall, the book is succinct in its descriptions of seizure types as well as the management and treatment of the epilepsies. Keep in mind that the book is a quick reference, but numerous citations are provided for those searching for more in-depth information regarding epilepsy. All in all, I would not hesitate to recommend this title to the practitioner in need of a quick reference for epilepsies.


Reviewed by Jennifer Woods, MSN CCNS CNRN, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neurology & Neuroscience Associates, Akron, OH.