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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This is the fourth edition of an introduction to immunology for medical student, allied health, and advanced undergraduate courses. Information is succinctly presented without excessive detail and focuses primarily on the host response to pathogens. The previous edition was published in 2009.
Purpose: The authors are very clear about the purpose of this book — it is to provide an introduction to immunology in a concise, focused manner highlighting what is important for students to know at a basic level. Immunology is so very much a part of most aspects of human disease that the information now available changes constantly and has become more detailed. This book is meant to deal with basic concepts and it succeeds in this aim.
Audience: The book focuses on what medical students need to take away from a basic course but would be suitable for students in allied health programs and dental programs, as well as undergraduates. It also could serve as a review before board exams for residents. The authors are well-known and respected immunologists with significant teaching experience.
Features: The chapters correspond to the areas that are covered in a basic course. The book is clearly written and well illustrated. Summaries and suggested readings appear at the end of each chapter. Four appendixes include a glossary, a list of major cytokines with their source(s), receptors, and subunits, principle cellular targets and biological effects, and five clinical cases. This last appendix illustrates how a knowledge of immunology contributes to the understanding of human disease. The book also includes access to a website with self-assessment questions, review slides, and animations which illustrate immunologic processes. Since the book is meant to focus on the most important aspects of immunology, details in some areas are limited. For example, mucosal immunology, which has gotten increasing attention in the past few years, receives little attention.
Assessment: If what is needed is a presentation of the basic concepts of immunology, this book fits the bill. It is clearly written and up to date. The focus is on basic facts, but unlike the many review books available, this book is readable and provides enough detail so that it is more than a series of facts and definitions. We are constantly learning more about immunological mechanisms, and updates, such as this fourth edition, are welcome.