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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Loretta L. White , DNS (Indiana State University)
Description: This atlas provides the user a quick reference for facts about a variety of diseases. Each disorder is succinctly described and illustrated according to the body structure(s) it most affects.
Purpose: The purpose is not specifically stated and, although the title suggests the book is devoted to disease processes, this is only partially correct and therefore somewhat misleading. The content focuses on briefly describing the causes, pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, diagnostics, and treatment of diseases common to each body system. Despite the title, this concise reference is indeed a welcome gift to students who are required not only to learn health-related material in a short period of time but to apply it as well.
Audience: Although not specifically noted, the appropriate audience is nursing students. Most of the 16 contributors and consultants are nurse educators and nurse practitioners and as such have the knowledge and experience to design a reference useful to nursing students. The rudimentary descriptions of disease processes, brevity of content, extensive use of medical terminology, inclusion of diagnostics, treatments, and pertinent illustrations, would clearly complement any nursing textbook.
Features: Selected diseases common to each of the body systems are presented in a brief, one-page format with a representative full-color illustration on the opposite page. Each disease is defined and accompanied by a list of causes, a description of the pathological process, a review of the signs and symptoms, common diagnostic tests, and usual treatment options. Of special interest and usefulness is the inclusion of a succinct review of health concepts such as homeostasis, infection, genetics, and fluid and electrolytes. The charts in this section will greatly enhance mastery of this content which is so often difficult for students. The color illustrations that accompany each disease clearly show what body structures are affected. The use of minimal labeling and omission of extraneous descriptors enhances understanding for the learner. Additionally, illustrations are placed on the page opposite of the text so the reader does not have to flip pages to compare the information. It is, of course, not possible to include all diseases that could affect the body in one book. This updated edition does, however, include some of the newer health problems encountered in the past few years such as SARS and the West Nile Virus. The text could be enhanced by including in the table of contents a list of the diseases with each body system. Currently only the body system is listed and the reader must examine the entire section to see if the particular disease is discussed. One final note: the weight of the paper seems much thicker and stiffer than most book pages, making it difficult to keep it open to the page being read.
Assessment: Typical pathophysiology texts used in nursing are much more in-depth. An example is Price, et al., Pathophysiology: Clinical Concepts of Disease Processes, 5th edition (Mosby, 1997), which begins each chapter with a review of normal anatomy and physiology followed by the pathophysiology of specific disease states, signs and symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and common treatment. However, I am impressed with this atlas. It provides a brief yet concise overview of many common diseases, making it a valuable reference for nursing students struggling to learn content and translate new knowledge into safe practice at the same time. It would serve as a wonderful complement to most nursing textbooks.