The New Glucose Revolution: Managing PCOS.
Brand-Miller J, Farid NR, Marsh K, Hodder Australia Pty Ltd, Sydney, 2004, 198 pages, $19.95, ISBN 0733618472
When I first saw this book I initially thought the authors were pushing the envelope. It is one of a series of 13 books on the glycaemic index and its various dietary manifestations in various disorders. The other 12 books are prominently emblazoned on the front and back covers. This serves as a testament to the energy of Jennie Brand-Miller, who is lead author on all the books, and probably indicates that there is a considerable market for this literature. I have not read the other books, or indeed was even aware of their existence, and as such cannot comment whether there is a degree of formulaic repetition, but this book is excellent.
The medical information is pitched precisely at the patient and is easily understandable for teenage girls struggling with hirsutism, mothers with reduced fertility and older women with metabolic syndrome. I also think the book would be informative for mothers and grandmothers of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Indeed, the book is probably even more useful from this point of view than as a dietary guide. There is not much in the purvey of lay literature for PCOS. I think it is very important for the girls and women to understand that this is a lifestyle disorder with metabolic consequences rather than being treated simply either with Dian 35 ED (cyproterone) for hirsutism or Metformin for insulin resistance. A book dealing with a healthy diet is timely in view of the obesity epidemic we are facing and PCOS is one of the many manifestations of this. I also think the section on exercise is excellent, it is pitched at women and mentions devices such as pedometers, which I, as a practising clinician, find very useful.
The book can be easily read in an hour or so. The paragraphs and sentences are short and the sections stand alone so the book can be digested piecemeal. Dot points and text boxes are used for emphasis. The first person is used creatively to introduce questions that patients might have, the tables and diagrams are simple, pertinent and easy to follow, and the case histories should resonate with patients.
There is a brief glossary of scientific terms at the back. For the computer literate they have also thoughtfully provided a list of web sites for those whose appetite for information remains unsated.
I probably should have whipped up one of the taste treats in the recipe section or at the least, risked assault and battery in the kitchen by asking the distaff half to do so. Nevertheless, looking at the ingredients one suspects they are both healthy and wholesome.
I am aware that this may seem a paean of praise but this is a very good example of lay publishing and I am already recommending it to patients.
Dr Richard Couper
Department of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide, Department of Gastroenterology, Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide