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Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Trigger Factors and Trends in Therapy

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Trigger Factors and Trends in Therapy. Caprilli R, ed. (Pp 218; illustrated; price not given.) Stuttgart: Schattauer, 1997. ISBN 3-7945-18808-X.

In preface to my review of Dr Caprilli’s interesting book I must declare a bias, as I am the author of a volume of similar size and title, also published in 1997. I hope that this has not influenced my comments too much, as the style and objectives of the two books are quite different and potentially complementary. Although it has a strongly topical slant, my book is much more a general overview of inflammatory bowel disease and bears the strengths and weaknesses of single authorship. In contrast, Dr Caprilli has gathered together the material of the 46 contributors to a conference held in 1996. Many of the names are well known, representing major centres in Europe (including Israel) and North America, with a perhaps understandable leaning to the Italian (22 authors). It seemed at first a little odd that there were no British contributors, but rather than encouraging collective xenophobic paranoia this may just as well represent a reason for commending the dedication of my colleagues to their national society, given that the British Society of Gastroenterology was meeting simultaneously, and in Manchester compared with Capri at that!

The book is arranged into six main sections, and in addition to the themes implied by its subtitle, there are pieces on disease stratification, postoperative recurrence, pouchitis, and the place (or otherwise) of the ileorectal anastomosis as definitive therapy for ulcerative colitis. It is probably a reflection of the passage of time that, although there is a chapter on family studies, there is no focused section on genetics. It is less clear why the measles hypothesis is not included in the section on predisposing and trigger factors—perhaps because Professor Ekbom was recruited to write instead about cancer! Measles does not appear in the index, but there is in fact a reasoned analysis of its potential importance in a wide-ranging chapter on paediatric inflammatory bowel disease.

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