Studies on Women's Health Editors Ashok Agarwal, Nabil Aziz, Botros Rizk Springer, 2013, ISBN: 978-1627030410, Hardback, 363 pages, £122.00



Oxidative stress, which is defined as an imbalance between pro-oxidants and antioxidant capacity, has been implicated in suboptimal reproductive performance from the earliest stages of development to labour and delivery, including gynaecologic and reproductive performance, infertility, miscarriage, diabetes-related congenital malformations, and pre-eclampsia.

This book is dedicated to multiple aspects of women's health, specifically focussing on studies relating to oxidative stress and antioxidants. It is a shame that the editors did not incorporate ‘oxidative stress and antioxidants’ into the book title to further highlight this.

The first chapter provides an excellent and comprehensive introduction to reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative stress, antioxidant systems and related dietary influences. The chapter starts with a concise and informative abstract to introduce the reader to the topic. All of the information and diagrams that follow are easily accessible to a wide audience, being clear and concise and easy to follow. At the end of each chapter, there is a useful summary to highlight the key messages of the chapter.

Chapter 2 requires a special mention, as this is an essential and excellent addition to the book; it provides detailed discussions of the background principles and methodologies of ROS detection, specifically relating to studies in women's health. Many other books in the field fail to include this important and extremely useful chapter and this is a particular strength to this book.

The chapters that follow are organised in a logical order and cover studies of oxidative stress and antioxidants relating to all aspects of women's health from the endometrium, placental development to an exhaustive range of gynaecological and reproductive disorders. Each of these subsequent chapters are clearly presented with informative diagrams, which reinforce the salient features of the text. The studies are presented in sufficient detail to inform the reader without being overwhelming. The last few chapters focus on the links between oxidative stress and cardiovascular disease in women as well as the potential influences of lifestyle factors, which provides a suitable end to the book.

In summary, this book is an excellent and informative addition in the field of oxidative stress and antioxidants in relation to all aspects of women's health, and it is easily accessible to a wide audience. Each chapter is clearly written with extensive diagrams to further illustrate the text. This book is not designed to be read from cover to cover, but fulfils its purpose as a tool that can be called upon to find out what techniques are being used, and what is known about oxidative stress and antioxidants in a particular subject within the field. As a whole, this book will prove useful for postgraduate students and others new to the field. My overall impression is that it is a well sourced and well constructed textbook that will stand the test of time.