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Eds Neil Armstrong, Willem van Mechelen. (Pp 472; £59.95.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-262977.
Although this book arrived for review during the summer, light, easy beach reading it is not. Its qualities are encyclopaedic rather than Mills and Boon!
Edited by Neil Armstrong and Willem van Mechelen, the first two sections deal with paediatric exercise science and the last three with paediatric exercise medicine. Each part has between 6 and 12 chapters, written by a variety of international experts and concluding with a neat summary.
It is targeted at a very wide and diverse readership. Only a reviewer will sit down and read the text from cover to cover. Depending on your area of interest, you will feel comfortable in some sections and just dip into others. The section on exercise science is extremely comprehensive, although you will have to look elsewhere for tables of normal values. As a clinician, I was overwhelmed by a lot of the science and looked forward to the paediatric medicine sections. I was not disappointed. Again, it is very comprehensive, dealing with the role of physical activity in health and chronic disease, and the aetiology, prevention, and management of sports injuries. I found practical answers to questions commonly posed at outpatient clinics but noted that there is no mention of renal disease or haematological disease, and epilepsy is not discussed. Also, whereas American football and ice hockey feature in the chapter on contact sports, rugby is not included.
Although evidence based medicine is relatively sparse in the field, it is strongly emphasised throughout, and each chapter has a comprehensive reference list which will usually point you in the right direction if your precise query is not discussed.
Would I buy a personal copy? Even at its very reasonable price, the answer is no. For me, it is more of a reference text than a daily companion. Would I like to see a copy in the paediatric library? A definite yes.
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