Wilson's Disease for the Patient and Family: A Patient's Guide to Wilson's Disease and Frequently Asked Questions About Copper

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Xlibris Corporation, Apr 9, 2002 - Medical - 152 pages
Wilsons Disease for the Patient and Family: A Patients Guide to Wilsons disease and Frequently asked Questions about Copper, is an essential reference book for patients with Wilsons disease and their families. In easy-to-understand language, Dr. Brewer, a world authority on Wilsons disease and copper, explains everything about Wilsons disease, from its genetic cause and mechanism of transmission, to effective treatment plans. A comprehensive glossary provides readers with definitions and explanations for many of the scientific words and phrases used in the text. Major reasons why this book is important to patients relate to the rarity of the disease, variation in its manner of presentation, and the likelihood that doctors consulted about the medical problems will know very little about Wilsons disease. Most doctors, even specialists in liver disease or neurology, will see at most one or two cases during their entire medical careers. If patients hope for rapid and early diagnosis, and that is important to preserve as much function as possible, they may need to help the doctor think of the disease in the first place, and help in sorting out what constitutes proper diagnosis. And then, if there is a diagnosis, comes treatment. The days are gone when one drug, penicillamine (the only anticopper drug most doctors have heard of), is prescribed as soon as the diagnosis is made. Now we have different therapies for different stages. In fact, we no longer recommend penicillamine for Wilsons disease at all. This book will guide the patient and family through all of these various aspects of Wilsons disease. Dr. Brewer begins by describing Wilsons disease, what causes it, how it is inherited, and what symptoms people with Wilsons disease exhibit. It is an inherited disorder of copper accumulation and toxicity, affecting one in 40,000 people worldwide. After basic coverage of Wilsons disease, Dr. Brewer devotes an entire chapter to answering some of the most commonly asked questions about copper. Many of these questions are unrelated to Wilsons disease, but are questions frequently asked by other types of patients as they are informed that there is something wrong with their copper. After that, Dr. Brewer explores the symptoms which should trigger the suspicion of Wilsons disease, and what screening tests can be done to explore this possibility. He then covers testing which will give a definitive diagnosis, what the results of different tests mean, and some of the possible problems with various tests which might be performed. Once a reliable diagnosis of Wilsons disease is made, anticopper therapy is essential to the survival of Wilsons disease patients. Dr. Brewer explains what drugs are available for treatment of Wilsons disease, and offers a comparison of their benefits and side effects. He elaborates on variations in treatment, first discussing the initial stage of treatment, and then long-term maintenance therapy. Included in the discussion are tips for treatment of children and pregnant women. The risks and long-term outlook for a person diagnosed with Wilsons disease are discussed in some detail. After these information-packed chapters, Dr. Brewer devotes a chapter to answering some frequently asked questions about Wilsons disease, and presents resources available to Wilsons disease patients and their families. The book concludes as Dr. Brewer examines the current shortcomings in Wilsons disease therapy, and points to areas which might be improved upon in the future.
 

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About the author (2002)

George Brewer is a physician and Professor of Human Genetics and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. His research has touched on many diverse fields of medicine and genetics, and led to extensive publications in the medical literature. Recently, he has turned his attention to writing medical thrillers, such as The Death Gene, which push a scientific idea a little beyond the envelope of current capability, and then builds a story around these new developments. Besides The Death Gene, Dr. Brewer has written another medical thriller novel, I.D., which is also published by Xlibris.

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