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Book Reviews

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Illustrated Insights:
Sleep:
Excessive Sleepiness

by Stephen M Stahl
ISBN: 1-4225-0018-7
NEI Press, San Diego. 79 pages published May 2005
30 US$ (25)

This is the first of a new series of books from best selling psychopharmacology author, Stephen Stahl. "Sleep" is planned as a multivolume work and "Excessive Sleepiness" is the first part. The format follows the tried and tested learning formulas which have made Stephen Stahl so popular. In this short pocketbook format work the reader will find Nancy Muntner's cartoon-type illustrations, multicoloured schemes and figures and an easy-to-read story-like text. The objectives of each section are outlined and there is sufficient repetition (especially between the text and the figures) to make learning easy. The subject is divided into three colour-coded modules, Diagnosis, Neurobiology and Treatment of Excessive Sleepiness each with essential summary points gathered at the end of the section.

Although excessive sleepiness initially seems a rather unusual subject to start this new series, the book rapidly demonstrates how common it as and that its estimated cost is up to $100 billion annually (in the USA). The contents include disorders characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness, such as obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and chronic fatigue. The symptoms of sleepiness as well as other symptoms associated with sleep disorders, such as cognitive problems, memory loss, and driving performance are also addressed. The book manages to keep a reasonable balance between completeness and simplicity although those interested in following up the subject may be frustrated by the limited number of references. In general, however, this first example of Illustrated Insights is informative, pleasant to read and ideal for those having to learn the material for an exam. The book is written for Americans and non-American readers will have to check availability and usage of different drugs in their own countries? Although the book is aimed essentially at medical students and doctors wishing to keep up to date with the subject, any interested layman with some basic knowledge of biology should also find the book easy to understand.
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