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From The CriticsReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This compact book covers most of the major topics taught in basic immunology courses for medical and dental students. The material is presented in a very concise manner so that the level of detail is limited and some topics receive little attention. The most recent edition was published in 2006.
Purpose: The goal is to present a picture of how the immune system works in a way that allows students to learn basic principles without becoming bogged down in details that are more appropriately covered in advanced courses. Thus the book is limited to what the authors consider the key concepts of the field. Given the increase in information about the immune system, setting limits may be a good thing.
Audience: Medical students studying immunology during their preclinical years are the primary audience, but dental students could also use it.
Features: In addition to trying to cover the major topics that are taught in most medical immunology courses, this book focuses on human immune responses against infectious microbes. Factual details purposely have been limited. Although there are a few clinical cases presented in the appendix, immunologic diseases are presented in the chapters only to emphasize their relation to normal immune responses. Unfortunately, some topics are not covered. For example, there is little about the mucosal immune system, which is different from the peripheral immune system. The figures are presented well, but in some cases they are too complicated and condensed. (They are also available for use by faculty in their presentations through Elsevier's Student Consult system.) There is also an extensive glossary and a list of the principal features of selected CD markers. At the end of each chapter is a list of review questions to reinforce the information that has been introduced.
Assessment: For some immunology courses, this is unquestionably an excellent choice. Other course directors and faculty might prefer a book with a bit more meat. Students will probably be happy with a book this size and it is certainly easy to read. Most importantly, immunology is a constantly changing discipline and this book is up to date.