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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This is the third edition of a book that provides a condensed overview of topics usually covered in a medical biochemistry course using attractive illustrations. The previous edition was published in 1994.
Purpose: The goal is to provide a convenient study/review vehicle for first year medical students and individuals preparing for the USMLE examination. Given the large amount of material in this field, an effort to improve accessibility is welcome. In general, the objectives are met.
Audience: The intended audience is the medical student. Some undergraduates will also find value. The approach accurately reflects the intent of the authors who are experienced teachers of this subject.
Features: The new edition of the review will be welcomed by many students as a useful adjunct to the large, standard texts generally available. The book is divided into seven sections beginning with a discussion of protein structure and function. It proceeds through much of intermediary metabolism, has a separate section focused on integration of pathways and concludes with material on information flow. This is a common strategy and not very distinct from the usually employed texts. This iteration is characterized by excellent illustrations that serve to focus and organize topics. At times, there is a disconnect between a particular set of reactions and their overall place in the metabolic hierarchy. Thus, the challenge of providing adequate detail and maintaining a broad perspective is not always met. Attempts at clinical relevance are not very successful and the breadth of sample questions very limited. A useful addition would have been the inclusion of the occasional key reference so that students seeking additional detail could be properly guided. Regrettably, there are a number of factual errors, particularly in the area of glycobiology. Nevertheless, most students seeking an approachable review book will find this effort worthwhile.
Assessment: A fine set of graphics makes this book very attractive. I do not care for some of the organization and was disturbed by factual flaw, but these are not sufficiently serious to merit a strongly negative review but should have been picked up by more thorough editing. The illustrations alone justify the new edition.