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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Jessica Ann Crawford, BS (University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine)
Description: This book presents general information on basic principles relevant to the study of medicine, covering areas ranging from microbiology to toxicology to anatomy and histology. The written content is accompanied by many figures, algorithms, diagrams, and helpful clinical correlates and mnemonics.
Purpose: Its purpose is to serve as a study guide for USMLE Step 1, one that is clearly met. Using this resource, the daunting task of preparing for USMLE Step 1 can be organized into clear concepts. It can be used for study one of several ways — alone, with First Aid for the Basic Sciences: Organ Systems, Le and Krause (McGraw-Hill, 2009) or with First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, Le et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2009).
Audience: Medical students or medical professionals preparing for USMLE Step 1 are the intended audience. In addition, it could be used as an adjunct for courses during the first and second years of medical school. The contributing authors are medical students and physicians.
Features: The topics covered include the majority of coursework during the first two years of medical school, with the exception of physiology and pathology of specific organ systems (which I assume is contained in First Aid for the Basic Sciences: Organ Systems). Areas of review include anatomy and histology, embryology, immunology, and basic concepts in pathology. The diagrams are especially illustrative. Each page has at least one chart, picture, pathology slide, or key fact sidebar, which makes the book aesthetically pleasing and breaks up the text. The charts for both metabolic pathways and microbiology are very detailed and the embryology pictures are useful. Most of the pictures and many diagrams use color to highlight important information. There are some typographical errors throughout the book, but not to the point of distraction.
Assessment: I would recommend this book to those preparing for USMLE Step 1. The chapters are inclusive with useful color pictures and charts. The many sidebars that include clinical correlates and mnemonics further help with retaining information. I would also recommend this book as an adjunct for those in the first and second year of medical school. It can help students focus on those aspects of the curriculum that are most important, both for Step 1 and during the clinical years as well.