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Neonatal hematology and immunology III. J A Bellanti, R Bracci, G Prindull, M Xanthou, eds. (Pp 252; $US 172 hardback). Elsevier Science, 1997. ISBN 0-444-82573-8
This book is a compilation of papers presented at the third meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Haematology and Immunology in 1996. As the editors themselves admit, the book does not cover the entire area of either haematology or immunology but “reflects the particular interests of the colleagues who attended the symposium.” This raises the important question as to whether these participants were indeed invited speakers representing their expert areas or whether they represent authors who had submitted abstracts to the symposium.
The book is divided in two sections—immunology and haematology—with each section further divided into five areas of interest. The immunology section includes microbial host-cell interaction, immunological enhancement of neonates, viral infections and food allergy. The haematology section includes the use of erythropoietin, coagulation, stem cell function, and immunologically mediated cytopenia and anaemia.
Each subdivision has three to four short papers of three to six pages including references. Some important subject areas are covered, including the use of immunoglobulins in neonatal sepsis, the use of erythropoietin for anaemia of prematurity, and the use of G-CSF for neutropenia. The quality varies considerably between chapters. Some argue rather strongly for the use of their selected therapeutic modality despite insufficient published data while others argue more objectively.
It was interesting to read about the use of immunoglobulins in respiratory syncytial virus in post-neonatal infants (surprisingly in a neonatal book) but rather repetitive to read for the third time in three consecutive chapters the adverse effects observed with formalin inactivated RSV vaccine when it was introduced in the 1960s.
Furthermore, the chapters have varying fonts as well as styles, making this book rather difficult to read. The large number of spelling mistakes only makes this worse. The style for each chapter presumably reflects that of the author’s with no editorial uniformity. Helpfully, some chapters have a summary or abstract, but most do not.
The book is unlikely to be of use to the general paediatrician or neonatologist as the introduction does not give sufficient information on the topic being discussed. Nor do the chapters give sufficient detail to permit the reader to decide whether to use the treatment or intervention being discussed.