ARTHRITIS: The New Treatments by

ARTHRITIS: The New Treatments

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One praises this book with a faint damn. The author is clearly an expert on arthritis, intent on explaining the workings of bones and joints, on making the differential diagnosis between classic osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many look-alike syndromes. He is also an expert on current pharmacological treatments as well as conversant with potentially useful therapies. Why, then, does he deny the reader the most elemental vocabulary to aid explication? The cartilage surfacing bone is described as teflon; the mineral stuff of bone is ""marble""; the various species of white blood cells important in the inflammatory processes that attend rheumatoid and other arthritic conditions are various cells with hooks, cells with hook and alarm systems, and so on. When not condescending, such an approach is confusing. About the only non-circumlocution the author uses is the term prostaglandins to describe a class of chemicals the body produces for multiple reasons but which, in the case of joint disease, contribute to pain, swelling, and redness. Aspirin and aspirin-like drugs work to counter the effects of various prostaglandins, and this is why they are so beneficial in treatment. They are also irritating to the stomach, however, and so the side effects of chronic use are a serious consideration. The author is excellent in dealing with all these aspects of therapy, and in a final chapter summarizes where we stand pharmacologically, surgically, and in the various heat or exercise treatments. We concur with his advice that the interested reader tackle this and the first chapter to begin with, filling in with the nuances developed in between. We only wish he'd let us in on the right words.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Contemporary Books