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Martinez F D, Godfrey S. London: Martin Dunitz, 2003, £40.00, ISBN 1 84184 155 2
In this monograph Martinez and Godfrey have set out to inform clinicians about preschool wheeze—a condition that has as many labels (for example, wheezy bronchitis, infant asthma, preschool viral wheeze) as theories about its pathogenesis. The chapters unfold in a logical order: the epidemiology of preschool wheeze, immunological mechanisms, and finally differential diagnosis and treatment. Indeed, there is a coherence in this book that is rare in weightier multi-author textbooks. The initial “science” orientated chapters may appear at first sight to be rather dense—with their combination of small print and infrequent illustrations. However, they do contain nuggets of clinically useful information—I immediately used the up to date data on long term prognosis to counsel parents. I also liked the authors’ pragmatic approach to treatment. For example, they correctly cited the one study assessing the effectiveness of long acting β2 agonists in preschool children and followed this with a sensible recommendation that cannot be found in the BTS guideline.
Overall, this book is essential reading for clinical and academic respiratory paediatricians and respiratory trainees. Furthermore, it provides an excellent and unbiased overview for anyone setting out to read the primary epidemiological literature on preschool wheeze.
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