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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This is the fifth edition of a book designed to relate basic immunology to clinical problems. It is based on the notion that students better understand immunological mechanisms by applying what they have learned to disease processes. The previous edition was published in 2004 and this new edition includes new cases as well as updates of old cases.
Purpose: The aim is to relate the findings of basic scientific investigations to clinical problems. The examples are situations that illustrate important mechanisms of immunity by using a clinical case. Furthermore, the cases represent some of the problems that will be found in the clinic. Of equal importance is that they present basic principles in a way that students are likely to find interesting and remember rather than merely memorizing facts. Thus, this kind of book provides an important teaching aid for immunology faculty.
Audience: The book is directed towards medical students but could also be used by advanced undergraduates and dental students. The authors are well known and well respected immunologists.
Features: The cases are from the records of the Boston Children's Hospital and the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Each case uses the same format, beginning with basic scientific facts needed to understand the case history, the case history itself, and a summary of the disease. Questions point out the issues that students should have learned, and the answers are provided. The order of the cases parallels Janeway's Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease, 6th edition (informa Healthcare/Taylor & Francis, 2005). Five new cases have been added and older cases have been updated where necessary. The substantial illustrations are also available from the publisher's website to instructors who require students to use the book. No doubt immunologists could find other diseases that they feel should have been represented, but this book has a good mix.
Assessment: This is a high quality book that could serve in any situation where clinical cases are discussed. There are a few books of this type and which one would choose is probably a matter of style. In addition, many basic immunology books are including brief case histories as part of each chapter to illustrate basic points. However, these are not as detailed as the cases presented here. Since immunology is a constantly changing subject, a new edition is certainly justified.