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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia Wong, MD (Stanford University Medical Center)
Description: Dr. Levine has devised a handy paperback summarizing the differential diagnoses for several hundred dermatologic eruptions and lesions. Readers do have to have some basic knowledge of dermatology in order to properly take advantage of the information. The book is organized alphabetically by disease entities, so readers must have an idea of what the diagnosis is in order to proceed with the suggested evaluation and treatment guidelines. The information is enriched by the author's experienced clinician.
Purpose: The purpose is to help dermatology residents as well as dermatologists and other physicians develop a feel for the possible diagnoses to consider when evaluating a patient with a rash or skin lesion.
Audience: The audience is medical students, dermatology residents, and general practitioners.
Features: The differential diagnoses are the best feature. The distillation of the most salient clinical features associated with a particular entity is also a strength. The last section of the book discusses therapies and their attendant side-effects, dosages, and drug interactions. I would have liked it if the author had elaborated further in the differential diagnosis section on clinical tips on how to differentiate between the different diseases.
Assessment: A number of books discuss therapy, clinical presentation, and pathophysiology in a synopsis format. This one differs in that the differential diagnosis is well thought out and in many ways is more important. Knowing what you are treating is most of the challenge, not the therapy.