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Diagnosis and Nonsurgical Management of Osteoarthritis. By Kenneth D Brandt. (Pp 225; $17.95.) Caddo, OK: Professional Communications Inc, 1996. ISBN 1-884735-09-6.
Thought provoking, exciting, punchy but sometimes leaving the reader wishing the book was longer—not always the case with many textbooks. Dr Brandt has performed a superb task in condensing much of the current knowledge and indeed theory of osteoarthritis into such a compact and readable book. It is subdivided into four sections:
Part 1 “General information” contains a brief overview of the theoretical basis of osteoarthritis. While comprehensive in its scope, it is this section of the book that often left me wanting more. The book is, however, aimed more at primary care physicians than at readers specifically interested in osteoarthritis, and one would hope that the easy style of this section would stimulate the reader to look further afield.
Part 2 “Diagnosis of osteoarthritis” covers the diagnosis and assessment of osteoarthritis from a very practical clinical perspective. It also tackles the issue of coexistent diagnoses and practical pitfalls, an aspect that is often overlooked. Illustrative case histories help make the subject come alive.
Part 3 “Therapy for osteoarthritis” is a comprehensive review of drug and non-drug treatment for osteoarthritis and deceptively contains within it a broad bibliography to support its recommendations.
Part 4 “Conclusion” contains algorithms for the treatment of osteoarthritis and from a personal perspective I instinctively shrank away from this section. The algorithms do, however, have a refreshing approach to non-drug treatment and for those who like them, are very appropriate although one might now quibble with the choice of naproxen as the NSAID in some of them. This section is perhaps the only one really to reflect a North American approach to osteoarthritis.
This book has succeeded beautifully in its aim to provide a brief overview of osteoarthritis to primary care physicians. It will also appeal to those who wish to develop an interest in the subject. My only reservation is in the narrowness of its subject matter and it remains to be seen if its target audience will buy such a focused book. I hope they do, not least to prevent my well thumbed copy disappearing!
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