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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer:
Description: First published in French in 1989, this book is a compilation of topics relating primarily to prenatal diagnosis and to a lesser extent, obstetrical and perinatal management of abnormal pregnancy. Recognized authors in the field of human genetics have contributed to this volume, which covers both cytogenetic and molecular genetic aspects of prenatal diagnosis to a greater extent than ultrasonography. To the extent that this book outlines our current understanding of fetal development and our ability to evaluate aberrant biology of the fetus, it is a welcome addition to the literature.
Purpose: The purpose is to help primary care physicians respond to questions from pregnant women and the families for whom they care regarding prenatal diagnostic topics. It is directed toward family practitioners, obstetricians, pediatricians, and would probably be a helpful reference for general internists as well. The editor believes that the timing of this book is appropriate because the prenatal diagnostic techniques and genetics that are reviewed are both current and accepted standards in clinical medicine. One of the additional goals of the editor is to define those pregnancies in which our technical advances in prenatal diagnosis should be utilized. The important concepts of population screening and enrichment of pregnancies deserving of invasive diagnostic techniques are also considered in this book.
Audience: The audience includes general practitioners, obstetricians, and pediatricians as well as trainees in these fields and any physician group providing primary care to reproductive-aged women.
Features: The chapters are grouped into four sections: fetal investigative techniques, predictable anomalies, no predictable anomaly risk, and practical applications. The first two parts contain much useful information regarding prenatal diagnostic techniques, laboratory techniques, chromosomal anomalies, and prenatal diagnosis of single gene disorders. In contrast, parts three and four are somewhat less useful to the reader. All chapters contain very useful figures and tabular data to complement the text information. Although appropriate references are cited, they are not as contemporary as they might be, with most articles published through 1990 only.
Assessment: There are a number of recent books and published reviews that cover the clinical information provided in this book. This text can serve as a good reference for generalists and is particularly insightful regarding both cytogenetics and molecular genetics in the context of prenatal diagnosis. Its shortcomings include limited information on clinical management and focused representation of French scientists in a field with an abundance of international experts. General physicians would find this textbook helpful in answering clinical questions related to prenatal diagnosis.