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Asthma: Basic Mechanisms and Clinical Management. 3rd Edition. Barnes PJ, Rodger IW, Thomson NC, eds. (Pp 942; hardback; $150.00). London: Academic Press, 1998. 0 12 079027 0.
This is the third edition of an established book. Aiming to bring together all the recent information on basic mechanisms of asthma and also cover clinical aspects and therapy in depth, this is achieved successfully. The scope of the book provides accessible reviews of all facets of asthma, from epidemiology and physiology to allergen avoidance, including recent developments in these fields. Modifications to the popular second edition include separate chapters on mediator antagonists and immunomodulators with consideration of the potential therapeutic benefits of intervening in the complex inflammatory and pharmacological pathways systematically covered in previous chapters. A new chapter on the pharmacoeconomics of asthma treatments provides a pertinent reminder that, after the wonders of basic science and the development of beneficial interventions, a wider perspective is required to successfully deliver benefits to those who require them. The addition of colour plates provides a welcome change to the previous black and white prints of the old edition which look a little drab in retrospect.
Well written by authorities in their fields and uniformly edited with an attractive presentation, this is an excellent book which succeeds in linking the rapidly developing body of knowledge on asthma with current treatment, while keeping the future constantly in mind.—AF
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