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Those unfamiliar with the subject might be forgiven for thinking that sleep medicine is synonymous with obstructive sleep apnoea. However, in his excellent new book Professor Douglas demonstrates that disordered sleep can be caused by a surprisingly diverse range of diseases and environmental factors.
The book is well laid out, attractive, and not too thick! The material is covered comprehensively, in a style that is easily readable, using language that is clear and concise. The text is broken up into “bite size” chunks with numerous figures and illustrations interspersed throughout. Each topic is extensively referenced and suggestions for further reading have been included at various points for those interested in delving deeper.
Broadly speaking, the book is divided into two main sections. The first half concentrates on the causes of excessive daytime sleepiness with OSA and narcolepsy being addressed in great detail. The chapter on investigation of the sleepy patient is very useful and examines the role and scope of different tests. Management protocols are suggested and the author includes tips from his own clinical practice.
The second part of the book looks at many disparate issues in sleep. Topics discussed in this section include insomnia, circadian rhythms disorders (including jet lag and shift work), snoring, and miscellaneous causes of sleep disturbance. There is a particular emphasis on COPD and nocturnal asthma. The final chapter briefly reviews a selection of other medical conditions, the more noteworthy ones being neuromuscular disease, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, and Cheyne-Stokes respiration in heart failure.
I enjoyed reading this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone (especially respiratory trainees) wishing to acquire a practical up to date understanding of the rapidly developing specialty of sleep medicine. Even those with years of experience in the field are likely to derive benefit and the later sections are relevant to all doctors.