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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Sophie La Salle, PhD (Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine)
Description: The nine sections in this atlas provide concise summaries of various basic science and clinical topics related to human biochemistry. The double-page format, with explanatory text on the left-hand page and accompanying illustrations on the right-hand page, efficiently conveys the information. The previous edition was published in 2005.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a visual overview of the entire spectrum of human biochemistry. The book is designed as a study aid and quick-access reference, and it serves exactly those purposes in a very effective manner.
Audience: Although written primarily for medical students, the book also may be useful to biological sciences undergraduates, as well as physicians looking for concise explanations of various biochemistry concepts. The two authors are well-respected biochemists with vast teaching experience with medical students, and this is reflected in their presentation of the information.
Features: This atlas provides a fairly complete overview of topics falling under the biochemistry spectrum, ranging from basic metabolism to genetics and nutrition. Basic concepts are included at the beginning of the book so novice biochemists will be equipped with the knowledge required to understand more advanced topics. This book is concise, integrated, and remains readable despite the complexity of certain subject areas. Its summary-style format makes this an ideal study aid. It is very easy to navigate: each section is color-coded and symbols (described on the front and back covers) are used consistently throughout. A sufficient amount of information is provided in the table of contents to quickly find topics of interest, and a detailed index allows for more precise identification of content. However, the best feature of this book is certainly the quality of the illustrations, which are rich in information and complement perfectly the text they support.
Assessment: Books of this format are rare. Even more so are concise books of this caliber that cover such a wide array of biochemistry-related topics. This is the perfect book for students on the go, or physicians in need of a brief refresher. Although it does not replace more detailed biochemistry textbooks, it provides sufficient information in its summaries and rich illustrations to gain a basic understanding of any topic it covers. The updated edition is certainly worthwhile as additional areas such as blood clotting and the biochemistry of fatty tissues are now covered. Overall, this book covers most topics and subject areas related to biochemistry, but it could expand upon concepts related to epigenetics (which is only briefly mentioned in the book), and include reproductive organs in the section of tissues and organs as well as meiosis in the section on growth and development.