By Michael Camilleri
Published by the Mayo Clinic Scientific Press/Oxford University Press (published 2021)
Until I had across this book, I had not realised there such a subspecialty of Neurogastroenterology but I am sure that most gastroenterologists had come across this topic in their work. This is not a book for the generalist but for the super specialised physician although the book is interesting, and I certainly (and surprisingly) got a lot out of it by reviewing it.
For those still scratching their heads what this subspeciality is all about the foreword neatly sums it up. “Neurogastroenterology is the subdiscipline of gastroenterology that focuses on disease states characterised by neuromuscular or sensory dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract.” In case you think this covers rare and unusual diseases, to a certain extent that may be correct. However, consider the impact of irritable bowel syndrome which is extensively covered in this book, as well as chronic diarrhoea and chronic constipation, also covered in this book.
Chapter 11 which is on Page 249, is a superb description of irritable bowel syndrome and the introductory paragraph is a quick and excellent read. As can be found in this chapter and throughout the book, the text is clear and very readable. Also, throughout the book, the images and tables are of the highest quality, nicely produced and clearly makes the point. They are also colourful, and eye catching which makes the book more readable. The book has a clear clinical focus but there is good reference to medical literature, if you are keen to delve deeper into that particular subject.
Overall, this book has a good mix of clinical, academic, research and general interest to make it attractive to a clinician with a specialist interest in the topic of Neurogastroenterology which to be fair is a limited audience. However, I suspect gastroenterologists may also be interested in this excellent and highly readable book. I have already mentioned the excellent chapter on irritable bowel syndrome but the chapter on gastroparesis (Chapter 4, Page 63) is also superb and has a high clinical use. Again, it is superbly illustrated (other textbooks take note on how to properly illustrate a book) and gives a good mix of background information which will help enhance a clinician’s knowledge.
The book is not cheap but it is very nicely produced and packs in a lot of knowledge into a highly specialised book. Bundled with the book is web access (though not an app). Though the access codes come in a loose card found inside the book and is for 5 years (though I suspect in 5 years’ time, it will be time for a new edition) it is still a welcome bonus. The registration process does take a little bit of time and effort and once you realise where your book is then it is easy to navigate around. It is good to see that good quality printed books like this come with a website that once you have registered with, is easy to use and adds to the quality of the purchase.
This book and bundled digital access may not be cheap as it is aimed at a narrow audience but without doubt is a quality production and full of interesting material.