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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
Description: This book summarizes the current state of knowledge in the rapidly evolving field of biomarkers and their use in clinical medicine.
Purpose: The purpose is to survey and summarize research findings in the use of biomarkers in health and disease. This book is very timely, given the rapid progress and change in this field.
Audience: This book would appeal to a broad audience — i.e., anyone with an interest in this field such as the lay public, researchers, allied health professionals, and physicians (in training as well as those in practice).
Features: This 48-chapter book covers an amazing array of biomarkers and their usefulness in determining appropriate functioning of many different organ systems. The book starts with a concise, yet well-developed section on the principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM), the industry perspective (and rationale for assay development), relevant statistics, and decision analysis. It is clear that mastery of these topics is essential to understanding their application to the review and analysis of biomarker research studies in subsequent chapters. I particularly enjoyed this first section as it set a great foundation for the remainder of the book. Subsequent sections critically analyze published studies assessing the role of biomarkers in normal function versus disease states of the kidneys, bone, liver, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular and neurological system. Finally, there are two sections discussing the role of biomarkers in toxicology and transplantation. Despite the multitude of expert authors, the writing style is remarkably consistent between sections/chapters, with a clear and concise message delivered in each chapter. I also appreciate that the basic premise of laboratory medicine - using clinical utility to drive use of laboratory testing - permeates every chapter. This book appears deceptively small (494 pages, but only about one inch thick), but contains an amazing wealth of information.
Assessment: This is a great book for anyone wanting to get up to speed in this rapidly developing area. I know I will refer to it frequently in the near future as I field requests for biomarker testing, and will keep it readily accessible on my bookshelf!