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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This book comprehensively covers free radical biology. The prior edition was published eight years ago and new material justifies the new edition.
Purpose: The goal is to offer a full treatment of free radicals in the biological setting. Given their widespread importance, this is a worthy aim and the book is generally successful.
Audience: The intended audience, according to the authors, is the biologist or clinician with an interest in the area, but I would broaden the audience that would find this material of interest. The authors have long experience in the field and are well qualified.
Features: There is much misinformation available about free radicals and their various roles in biology. If one doubts this, review the contents of the dietary supplement shelf at your local supermarket. This fourth edition provides the reader with a comprehensive review of the field. The book is arranged in a logical fashion that indirectly also caters to the relatively naive reader. Initial chapters cover basic chemistry and defense mechanism (including dietary concerns). This section is followed by chapters on cellular responses and measurement of the various members of the oxygen radical family. Concluding chapters cover useful and destructive roles for oxygen radicals, their involvement in disease states, and an ending chapter reviews theories related to aging. A short appendix introduces the reader to the basics of chemistry. The extensive bibliography is grouped at the end but is divided by chapter so that key references remain readily accessible. The authors deserve credit for their generally lucid presentation, especially of complex material. Anyone interested in free radicals generally, and reactive oxygen species in particular, will find much of value here. Senior scientists working in the area will also encounter useful peripheral material.
Assessment: This is a comprehensive and informative volume. Even casual reading unearths useful information.