Book Review [2,7]

Volume: 2
Issue: 7
July 15, 2007
Book Review [2,7]

Dear Colleagues:

This month I would like to review the newly translated 2nd English edition of Dosch’s Manual of Neural Therapy according to Huneke. This is a long awaited book as the only previous neural therapy textbook available in English was the 1984 edition that has been out of print for many years. I am sure many other English speakers besides myself have been wondering what progress has been made since then—in Germany, the birthplace of neural therapy.

In particular I was wondering whether the North American contributions of Dietrich Klinghardt and Louisa Williams, i.e. their invention of autonomic response testing would be included in the “bible” of neural therapy. Sadly they are not, but an explanation is not hard to imagine when one considers how textbooks are made. Textbooks are enormously difficult and time-consuming to write, edit and publish. The information in most textbooks is usually five years out of date by the time the book reaches the reader. So this most recent (1995) edition really describes the state of neural therapy in Germany in about the year 1990, i.e. it is already close to 20 years old.

This disappointment aside, it is still an important book. The general outline and most of the writing of the previous edition has been left intact. This is as it should be, as the original translation was a magnificent book. The late Peter Dosch was not only a master clinician, but also a very fine writer. In addition, the English of translator Arthur Lindsay was (and is) a delight to read.

Most of the changes in the text have been insertions of new scientific knowledge and (in the techniques section), information on safety issues. For example the section on “Theories of Pain and the Effects of Anesthesia” has several new paragraphs on axoplasmic transport and the function of polypeptides such as substance P—old stuff in 2007, but nevertheless helpful for clinicians to understand the phenomena of neurogenic inflammation. Some of Pischinger’s major contributions to the physiology of the extracellular space as it pertains to neural therapy are also included.

Some small subsections have been expanded and/or rewritten, e.g. injection techniques of some of the arteries, joints and nerves and the section on segmental therapy. There has also been some minor reorganization of material in certain places. For example the shoulder joint section of the “Encyclopedia” has been extensively rewritten.

A disappointment for me was the “Failures of Neural Therapy” section, which has been left unchanged. Although nutritional deficiency is briefly mentioned as a limiting factor of neural therapy’s success, in my opinion, malnutrition and neurotoxicity is now epidemic in modern industrialized society and cannot be ignored by anyone practicing neural therapy. This is especially true in the practices of more progressive physicians who attract difficult cases, most of which are complicated by biochemical and/or immunological problems. 

However the author does provide a couple of interesting little sections on autohemotherapy and ozone-oxygen therapy, to be used when neural therapy fails. More of this sort of thing would be a valuable addition to the book.

Thieme publishers have reduced the size of this edition from 500 to 400 pages by decreasing the size of the print and eliminating or shortening some non-text sections. The beautiful portraits of the Huneke brothers are gone—a sad mistake in my opinion. This is a personal book by someone who obviously admired and loved these courageous medical pioneers.

The extensive “Selected bibliography” and “Bibliography of Publications in English” has been replaced by a small section of “Further Reading“.  Interestingly, some of these recommended papers and books have been published in the last few years, i.e. are more recent than the text itself.  Although this remedies the datedness of some of the material to a certain extent, it does not excuse the complete lack of footnotes, endnotes or bibliography.

New illustrations have been added and many of the dark old photographs have been replaced with photographs or diagrams from Matthias Dosch’s Atlas of Neural Therapy. These photographs look more professionally produced, but I quarrel with the hand and syringe positions in some of the injection pictures.

This book is a must for any physician practicing neural therapy. However for those who already own a copy of the first edition, because the substantive changes are minor this second English edition might be considered an optional purchase.


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