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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Donald C. Johnson, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: Eleven contributors have integrated their areas of expertise into an excellent textbook of physiology. While several of the contributors have already published monographs on the subjects included in this text, these lack the coherence offered by integration into a single book. The addition of a complete section of the central nervous system is an improvement over the first edition which appeared in 1991.
Purpose: This book aims to teach the mechanisms involved in the integrated physiological functions of the human body. It is not a reference book for specialists, but it does provide sound, basic information needed for advanced study.
Audience: The primary audience for this book is clearly first year medical students. Graduate students in human biology would find it useful, and physicians looking for a review book would also benefit.
Features: Each chapter is introduced with not only a table of contents but also with key points to prepare the reader for the important information contained in the chapter. The references include classic works on the subject as well as recent, more comprehensive reviews. Sprinkled throughout the book are "Clinical Notes" that correlate basic physiologic principles with medical problems. The illustrations are numerous, clearly presented, and appropriate for the text material.
Assessment: This comprehensive textbook of human physiology contains the information currently considered firmly established for explaining integrated functions, forgoing unnecessary speculations. Although several chapters are essentially the same as those of the first edition, there is now an excellent presentation of the physiology of the central nervous system, which was previously lacking. The book has purposely focused upon physiology and has not attempted to correlate morphology with functions. Furthermore, the biochemical details involved in cellular and subcellular functions have been discussed in the context of physiology and not chemistry. The new edition has 12 more chapters than the first edition, but lacks the study questions included in the latter. This book should be seriously considered as the text for physiology in medical schools.