SURGERY ADVICE VISIT
A non-medical, commercial organisation allegedly charges £1000/visit
without having the 30 years experience in dispensing practice
of Dr David Roberts (The Complete Dispenser)
BACK TO HEADLINES
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Series editor Dr Dan Rutherford
The cover of the book quotes a reviewer who says that every patient with high blood pressure should have a copy whilst the Press Release quotes another who recommends it to the "intelligent lay person". Both hold chairs in Medicine but the latter has pitched it at the correct level. Hoping not to be patronising I would say that there is rather too much technical detail for the average hypertensive 80 year old Mr/Mrs Bloggs but for those who have a genuine and serious interest in their condition and who don't mind their prognosis being clearly stated then it's all here. High Blood Pressure is a short textbook on hypertension written in lay language - largely. The subject is thoroughly covered by the committee of authors from an initial discussion of what it is and why it matters, the physiology, causes, how it's measured through to simple DIY treatments and the pharmacology of drug therapy. There is no doubt that it is a good book, within the constraints of its 134 pages and the well motivated patient may well benefit from the information therein. Who knows, the dire prognoses discussed may spur them on to improve their lifestyles - if they don't put their blood pressures up first.
There are to be five other books in this series: Depression, Angina, Diabetes, Arthritis and Asthma. These have not yet been received for review.
High Blood Pressure. Series editor Dr Dan Rutherford. NetDoctor.co.uk 134pp Paperback, Published by Hodder & Stoughton, £6.99 ISBN 0-340-78682-5 July 2002.
Sudden Menopause by Debbie DeAngelo
SCOTTISH BIRDS - Culture and Tradition
THYROID DISORDERS - A comprehensive guide to understanding the causes and the treatments
Dr Rowan Hillson
This is a basic but highly detailed handbook on a complicated disease - not that the reader would believe that, so simply is the message put over. Dr Hillson is a Consultant Physician at the Hillingdon Hospital, Middlesex and if the reader cares to scan downwards on this page he will come across her equally well written Guide to diabetes.
Where jargon is used it is translated or the reader is referred to a useful Glossary. Dr Hillson has a very orderly mind and this shows in the book which is neatly divided into four; an introduction and description of the gland and what it does; symptoms, what the doctor looks for, tests, causes and treatment of both under and overactive thyroid; followed by its effects on other conditions. Each of these "sections" is thorough and might even be well-used by medical students as an aide-memoire.
My only slight criticism is that some of Maggie Raynor's line illustrations are a little patronising and do let the book down a trifle. Sadly, this is a common fault in medical literature and material directed at patients. Even pharmaceutical company material provided to GPs for distribution to patients commonly assumes an IQ of 10 but his is just the reviewer's own opinion.
Dr Hillson fulfills her brief very well. Once again, this is a book which could well find a place on the GP's shelf to show to patients newly diagnosed with what many may find to be a mysterious and worrying condition.
Thyroid Disorders - A Practical Guide to understanding the causes and treatments, by Dr Rowan Hillson
186 pp paperback, published by Vermillion, £9.99. ISBN 0 09 188434 9 July 2002
TEST DRIVING COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES
As the cover says, Sylvia Thompson specialises in complementary therapies for the Irish Times and she is aided in this book by Dr Muiris Houston who gives a medical opinion on the therapies. This small paperback gives an insight into no fewer than 27 therapies, from the Buteyko Method and Manual Lymphatic Drainage to Rebirthing and Shiatsu. Many of them most physicians may not have even have heard of and that, of course, is one of the major points in favour of the book. Patients may turn up at surgery after trying one of these therapies. With this book to refer to doctors will know about the therapy, how it is claimed it works, what it treats, a case history and, finally, a medical opinion. That must be valuable. Test-Driving Complementary Therapies is a good, easy read without too much complimentary, complementary jargon. Buy it.
Test-Driving Complementary Therapies by Sylvia Thompson
135pp paperback, published by Newleaf, £7.99 ISBN 0-7171-3282-X
HARD TO STOMACH - Real solutions to your digestive problems
Dr John McKenna
Despite several references to being a "medical doctor" the author is primarily an alternative physician and this book is about alternative medicine and the gut. There's nothing wrong in that even though Dr McKenna does rather knock the investigative methods of conventional medicine for being "invasive" and "expensive" and incomplete when compared with the complete and non-invasive gut investigations he practices. Having spent over 30 years as a conventional doctor I still do not recall using the terms "dysbiosis" and "fermentation" when describing stomach problems but both seem to be of major importance. Dysbiosis occurs when the ecological balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract is disturbed by, for example, antibiotics. Fermentation is a disorder of digestion in the small bowel. The author uses many case histories to illustrate the success of the techniques which he describes in great detail. Stress, emotional problems and how the bowel can affect other parts of the body are all discussed in detail with suggested treatments. All these therapies have their place and should not be despised but neither should conventional medicine else lives will be lost. Patients may well have tried alternative treatments before presenting at surgery and it would be as well to be briefed and I doubt there is a better way than by reading this book.
Hard to Stomach - Real solutions to
your digestive problems, by Dr John McKenna
ON BECOMING A COUSELLOR
by Eugene Kennedy and Sara C Charles
On Becoming a Counsellor, by Kennedy
The Statutory Register of
Osteopaths, 2002 edition
Have you ever wondered whether the "osteopath" Mrs Bloggs was attending was suitably qualified, then wonder no more. If he/she is, then they will be listed in this very well presented register. Entries are listed alphabetically with full personal details of qualifications and addresses and geographically according to the practice including a number of overseas practitioners. In addition to the basic Register members of the Osteopathic Council are listed with extensive details of the Code of Practice for osteopaths. Every GP has increasing contact with this profession - and those professing to be osteopaths - so this book should be in every practice within the UK alongside the Medical Directory.
The Osteopathic Council also publishes a regular magazine, The Osteopath. Well worth reading and, if you have a mind to, worth writing for.
DIABETES - THE COMPLETE GUIDE
Don't be misled by the cover which says the book is "The essential introduction to managing diabetes". It is not a textbook for physicians but is a very good and thorough introduction to the condition for newly diagnosed diabetics. Many new diabetics may have a horror of their condition leading to a fear for the future. A few minutes with Dr Hillson's book will dispel many of those fears. It is written very simply and jargon terms are not only explained but the derivation of some, such as polydypsia (poly = much, dypsia = thirst), is given. Chapters deal with the early symptoms, tests, looking after their blood sugar, preventing complications and the effect of diabetes on sport, exercise and travel - to mention just a few subjects. My only disappointment is that there is no chapter discussing future developments such as the new designer insulins or other research which gives so much hope for the future. That apart, Diabetes - the complete guide can be safely recommended to diabetics new and old. Wouldn't it be nice if the diabetes NSF allowed for a copy to be given to all newly diagnosed patients?
Diabetes - the complete guide, Dr Rowan Hillson, 260pp, paperback, Published by Vermillion, March 28, 2002, ISBN 0 09 182701 9, £9.99
LEAVES FROM THE LIFE OF A COUNTRY DOCTOR.
by Dr. Clement Bryce Gunn, foreword by John Buchan, originally published 1935
Modern Rural GPs who feel they have done a gruelling job with limited facilities will be amazed to read this book and learn what was achieved by this man in the time round 1900 with no facilities at all. It is one of the very few books written by a rural GP and describing his work. He coped with a very high birth rate and the 1918 influenza epidemic. Initially, no telephone and his practice in the Scottish Borders was several times cut off by floods, deep prolonged snow and a rail strike. His horse and trap were eventually replaced by a motor cycle and then a car but, even then, roads did not reach all the houses. No District Nurse to give a helping hand.. just out there on his own.
re-print by Birlinn 2002.
ISBN1 84158 238 7.
paper back £7.99
Dr.John A.J.Macleod, MBE, DL, FRCGP, FRCP (Hon), (Glasgow), FFCS,
Honorary Life Member, Wonca,
THE VIAGRA MYTH
This is a very good book. Morgentaler is an excellent story teller and it would not surprise this reviewer if he published other popular works under a pseudonym. With a host of anecdotes, re-creations of consultations, he admirably demonstrates the myth that Viagra is the cure-all for erectile dysfunction or sexual problems in general.
Morgentaler, an associate professor in male sexual function at Harvard is obviously a very patient physician who is fascinated by his specialty and understands it deeply. There are occasions when Viagra is indicated, some where it may be used to make a diagnosis and others where it is of no benefit at all. Sometimes, at different times, in the same patient. There was the case of the man overwhelmed by the glamorous and "powerful" wife who doted on him. Anxiety caused his ED and Viagra so successfully treated it that he soon discontinued its use. Years later the same couple appeared with the same problem. Counselling and Viagra had failed. The reason was previous perineal trauma causing vascular problems. Another treatment provided a satisfactory resolution to both the ED and the marital problem caused by it. Bicycle riders are similarly warned.
There are many, many other examples all in an easily readable, almost un-put-downable style. Read it, doctor and get your ED patients and their partners to read it, too. You will all learn a great deal. I did.
THE Viagra Myth, Abraham Morgentaler MD, 204pp hardback. Published by Jossey-Bass £17.50. ISBN 0 7879 6801 3
As the introduction to this valuable book says, very many people are affected in one way or another by tinnitus. The degree of disturbance varies from the mild to the almost incapacitating. The book is intended to inform and help and that it does very well. What tinnitus is is described, including the physiology and neurology, and this is followed about what will happen in an ENT clinic. Most valuable of all, perhaps, is the section on how the patient himself, or his therapists, can manage the condition. Everything from "habituation therapy" (getting used to the condition and learning how to handle it), "sound therapy" (the use of white noise generators) and "relaxation/stress therapy" is decsribed in some detail with useful examples. Personally I found it interesting that my own adopted nocturnal therapy, listening to the radio through an earphone, at low volume ("5-live" is the best!) is recommended by the authors. Finally, the book lists and amazing number of self-help and advice groups and other informative publications. My one quarrel with the book is a very minor one. It is written in the slightly patronising tone of so many books aimed at patients, Maybe they are all aiming for a low common denominator?
Nevertheless, the authors provide a useful and interesting fund of information and help for we tinnitus sufferers and I, for one, got some benefit from it.
Understanding tinnitus - managing the
noises in your ears or in your head.
BABY HAYNES OWNERS' WORKSHOP MANUAL by Dr Ian Banks
What better recommendation could there be for a book than it is written by Dr Ian Banks? Any of his books or articles may be guaranteed to be readable and interesting.
This book is, to say the least, novel in its presentation of the subject of babies from the pre-natal period up to 2-years of age. Haynes manuals are primarily concerned with motor cars self maintenance by the men of the household. And so is this book but substitute a young human for an old car. The are chapters headed "Ignition" (conception); "On-board diagnosis" (monitoring pregnancy); "Running in" (Child development); "Impact protection systems" (safety at home and on the move); "Routine maintenance" (childhood ailments) and many more. Each is accompanied by authoritative text, diagrams, photographs and even appropriate cartoons. Towards the end are the "Fault finding charts" (flow diagrams to aid self-diagnosis). A nice touch at the very end is a section headed "Service History" for parents to keep a record of their off-spring's development for future reference.
You want a readable book on this model. Here it is.
Baby, Haynes owner's
workshop manual by Dr Ian Banks
MANAGE YOUR PAIN by Dr Michael Nicholas and others
The first comment to make about this book is that it is comprehensive, serious and well worth a place on any general practitioner's bookshelf for his own use, let alone recommending to patients.
Some of the information is pretty basic but the book is aimed at patients, after all. The first several chapters deal with the nature of pain and are followed by treatments for chronic pain. Drugs, physiotherapy, surgery, psychiatry - all are discussed and evaluated before the authors move on to how to live with pain and to pace oneself to overcome its effects. Sufferers are advised and shown how to set themselves goals and how to recognise and overcome obstacles. There is then a comprehensive section on stretching and exercising as methods of helping particular causes of chronic pain. The final 80 or so pages suggest how to think constructively about pain, how to use relaxation techniques to their best advantage, how to improve sleep and reduce stress levels. Even the importance of the interactions with those around is discussed.
Do buy this book - it's worth every penny.
pain by Dr Michael Nicholas and others
NO FEAR - overcoming panic attacks and
Alice Neville's book is a mine of
information on the phobias. You name it and here you'll find it
described in the very sympathetic tone you would expect from a past
sufferer. A nice touch was her understanding, tongue in cheek
management, in the book, of triskaidekaphobia - the fear of the figure
13. Other than the chapter heading, there is no chapter
13. Alice Neville founded two organisations for those with
anxiety disorders, The Open Door and PAX. The book relates the
experiences of many of her clients - including her own childhood and
adult development. Although there are sections on therapies
they are exceeded by descriptions of the conditions
themselves. The final 25 or so pages of the 175 deal with
these therapies and where to find help.
NO FEAR - overcoming panic attacks and
AUTOGENIC THERAPY - Self Help for Mind
Your Health in your Hands
As their titles indicate both these books relate to alternative therapies and are briefly reviewed on a continuing education basis. Be honest, doctor, how much do you know about these subjects? Nevertheless, someday one of your patients will turn up asking for your opinion.
Autogenic Therapy (AT) is said to be a method of easy mental exercises developed in Germany during the 1920s by the neurologist and psychiatrist Dr Johannes Schultz - no relation to the dog! The author claims that AT is one of the best self-help therapies around and that there are few authoritative English books about it. This book more than adequately fills that gap with its 272 pages. Having enthused about the therapy the author diclaims responsibility for the health of the reader and recommends a visit to the doctor.
After a detailed description of the course the 10 sessions are set out followqed by more about AT, the emotional implications and the applications. The book is quite easy to read but is a text book in all but name. If it takes your interest buy it with that in mind.
Your Health in your hands is extremely revealing. It is not a palmistry book but does attempt to convince readers that our bodily health is betrayed by the condition, shape and lines of our hands. That, of course, is partly true but not to the extent suggested by the author. There are numerous colour diagrams of palms and prints. Your reviewer was somewhat sad to notice that he has no lifeline - at all. Quite what that means he still does not know.
It is a well written and interesting book but readers should not abandon their medical textbooks entirely.
Autogenic Therapy. Jane Bird, Christine Pinch, 276 pp paperback, Published by Newleaf, £12.99, ISBN 0-7171-3422-9
Your Health in Your Hands, Lori Reid, 144pp paperback, Published by Newleaf, £12.99, ISBN 0-7171-3354-0
THE WEATHER - Coping with alcohol abuse
Rumour has it that the GP's political masters will shortly be dumping - sorry - allowing all GPs to have the privilege of screening all their patients for alcohol abuse in another of those wonderful NSFs. Anything which will make the task easier and more interesting must surely be welcome and Dr John Cooney's book does just that. Alcoholism is a disease with many causes, signs, symptoms and complications. All are thoroughly discussed in separate chapters. Treatment and relapse merit their proper attention together with a useful FAQ section. Cooney also seizes the opportunity to delve into alcohol abuse in the young caused by, amongst other factors, alcopops and media promotion. A few words in such a review as this cannot do justice to this book which should be a standard work on any NSF clinic's shelves.
the Weather - Coping with alcohol abuse by John G Cooney
THE VOICE OF TOBACCO by Richard Craze
This excellent little book describes itself as " a dedicated smoker's diary of not smoking" and that is exactly what it is. The author has smoked his chimney off but secretly, or not so secretly, decided it was not good for him. On the other hand does he believe another warning on the front cover which expounds that "Giving up smoking can seriously damage your relationship" and if not smoking is bad, then smoking must be good. All is revealed within this witty book.
The author quotes the advice of an anonymous quitter who said "The best way to stop smoking is to carry wet matches" and the inestimable Brooke Shields told the world the inarguable fact "Smoking kills. If you're killed you've lost an important part of your life". Then, again, Douglas Adams told a friend "If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action".
Craze's book is a light-hearted diary of his efforts to forgo the weed interspersed with cynical comments from himself as a hard smoker. Giving both sides of the story the author firmly, but not without apparent regrets, firmly comes down on the side of the non-addict.
So, if you want to stop smoking but don't want to be lectured to, shown gory photographs and be bombarded with ugly statistics - then this is the book for you, and it only costs slightly more than 20 fags.
voice of Tobacco by Richard Craze
The Energy Booster workout
Simon Brown is a therapist in shiatsu and feng shui and this book, put together with the able and attractive help of his cartoonist friend Ian Dicks, draws on that expertise. It is an attractive book, small in format (15.8 x 14cm) but big in ideas. It must be said that the reader must be prepared to accept the Oriental philosophy behind the exercises. For instance, under "Workout for one" there is a series of exercises for relieving bung-up noses and colds. This consists of pressing "4 fingers along from the wrist on the inside top of the arm for 5 seconds" repeated 3 times on each arm. Sadly, this reviewer still has his cold. Happily, the author is on safer ground when he suggests that massaging the neck and shoulders dissolves stress. Overall there are nigh on 200 exercises described in detail, with photographs and illustrative cartoons together with an explanation of the Oriental philosophy behind them. In fact, there's something for everyone here, sceptic or not. Well worth a look.
Energy Booster Workout, by Simon Brown
Cool - De-stress your life
As the cover indicates Lambillion's book is aimed at the younger generation who, even at their ages, may well be stressed by all the fantasies and realities of life and growing up. He is a therapist, a former teacher, a healer and lecturer in spiritual awareness in both America and Europe. In his Introduction he reminds his young readers of the need for de-stressing by telling them that suicide in the "20+ males has risen by 400% in the last 10 years". Whilst it would have been helpful to have quantified that, the 20+ age-group are outside the scope of the book anyway.
The style is easy to read, maybe a little patronising for the older members of the target audience, but informative. Lambillion describes stress and relaxation and then links that to exams, tests and interviews and suggests his techniques for successfully combating these crises in the young person's life.
A "Staying cool technique" suggested is to write "I'm staying cool" on a small card, decorate it and then close the eyes to imagine it. If it is carried about it may be called upon in times of stress.
An interesting book with interesting ideas but this reviewer doubts that many active, stressed young folk will ever complete their way through it. A bit long and wordy, perhaps.
Staying Cool - De-stress your life by Paul Lambillion, 178pp paperback, published by Newleaf, £8.99 ISBN 0 7171 3598 5
Other books received and now under review:
Panic Attacks by Aine Tubridy
alternatives to antibiotics by Dr John McKenna
Weight loss for
health gain by Dr Joe Fitzgibbon
Eat to live by
Sue Radd and Dr Kenneth Setchell
dementia by Lorraine West
Baby Om by
Laura Staton and Sarah Perron
Menopause. Netdoctor. Hodder & Stoughton, 130pp paperback, £6.99 ISBN 0 340 86140 1
Thriving with Heart Disease by Sotile & Cantor-Cooke. Published by Newleaf, 300pp paperback, £12.99 ISBN 0 7171 3669 8
Stop Diabetes by Gretchen Becker. Published by Newleaf, 196pp paperback, £10.99 ISBN 0 7171 3661 2