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WAO Medical Book Review

Handbook of Atopic Eczema: 2nd edition.
Editors: J Ring, B Przybilla, T Ruzicka
ISBN: 978-3-540-23133-2

List price: $169.00 USD
Available from: Springer-Verlag

Dr Janet Rimmer, MBBS, MD (UNSW), FRACP
St. Vincent Clinic
Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia

The first edition of this book was printed 15 years ago and this 2nd edition has been extensively revised with the addition of new topics. As atopic eczema affects up to 25% of the population in many countries it is appropriate to have an up to date, in depth textbook on this topic. The title is somewhat misleading in that it provides a very comprehensive review of the topic rather than acting as a “handbook”.

The purpose of the book is to provide an in depth approach to atopic eczema.
Both the usual aspects of atopic eczema are covered as well as some very interesting sections such as ‘Complications and diseases associated with atopic eczema’ as well as ‘diseases rarely associated with eczema’; there is a comprehensive coverage of different therapy approaches eg. music therapy, eczema schools and alternative therapies.

This textbook is targeted primarily to clinicians who have a special interest in this condition, i.e., dermatologist and allergists. While there is a paediatric chapter in the clinical aspect section, this is not repeated in the management section which is an omission as it is an important disease in childhood and there are always specific treatment considerations for this age group.

The format is divided into 3 sections: clinical aspects, pathophysiology and management. There is a synopsis at the end of each section. There are 107 contributors most of whom are based in Europe, with only 3 contributors from the USA. The book is 613 pages and there are 66 chapters divided evenly between the 3 sections. Each chapter is divided into sections, which allows for clear organization of the material, there are reasonable numbers of illustrations and copious references.

This book provides a comprehensive review of a common disease. It brings together many aspects of this disease into one compact source. It is highly recommended for any clinician who has an interest in or treats this condition.