Over the last 20 years, there have been great strides in the treatment of viral hepatitis. Both the discovery of the hepatitis C and E viruses, with the characterization of their genomes, and the availability of potent antiviral regimens and implementation of large-scale vaccination programs against the hepatitis B virus have paved the way for the full control of these diseases in the medium-to-long term. The clinical applications of this progress and the impact on clinical research of evidence-based medicine have contributed to a number of notions and information concerning the diagnosis and, primarily, treatment of patients through international trials and periodic updating of guidelines. It is, however, unfortunate that this large volume of information has not always influenced many practitioners in private practice, as well as internists in many hospitals. The main reason for this lack of positive impact seems to be the sometimes difficult relationship between basic and clinical research and practitioners. Moreover, there is less and less impact of large textbooks on medical knowledge, as the number of new ideas, added every year, makes it difficult to regularly revise and update information, which is often of unequal value.
The new medical series, Hot Topics in Viral Hepatitis, makes it possible for any medical doctor to learn what is new and important in the profession and science of viral hepatitis.
Since the launch of this editorial initiative in December 2005, the most important novelties in the field of viral hepatitis have been reported in the form of small booklets that are easy to read yet exhaustive in scope. The authors are among the leading specialists in the field. The topics are "hot" because they can be updated whenever deemed necessary due to the rapid changes in knowledge or the introduction of new important ideas and techniques in some fields of viral hepatitis. Each chapter emphasizes basic knowledge and presents and discusses the most relevant aspects of the clinical applications of these notions, including diagnosis and treatment, following a logical and rational approach.
It is our hope that clinicians find Hot Topics in... an invaluable addition to their practice.