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From The CriticsReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This book provides an overview of biochemistry with an emphasis on topics thought to be relevant to medical students. The last edition was published in 2000.
Purpose: The goal of this long-running series is to provide detailed coverage of all aspects of biochemistry as applied to medicine. For many students, this is a convenient (and relatively inexpensive) review book. Overall, the coverage is reasonable and users seeking specific information are likely to find it. Integration with clinical problems is lacking as is an organization that would make better sense given the stated objectives.
Audience: This book is intended primarily for medical students either as an auxiliary text or as a convenient review source when preparing for the USMLE part I examination..
Features: This 26th edition provides a thorough presentation of all aspects of biochemistry relevant to medical students. Changes from the 25th edition include some condensation of material, a limited amount of revision and new material, primarily in the area of recombinant DNA (including a short chapter on the human genome). The terse style allows for considerable detail, especially in metabolic pathway presentation. The coverage of the endocrine system and the role of hormones is effective. Initial chapters discuss general structural principles of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, and the function and general mechanism of enzymes. All aspects of intermediary metabolism are discussed as well as material dealing with membranes, specialized tissues (muscle, formed elements ofblood etc.), vitamins and general features of nutrition. The teaching of biochemistry in medical school has evolved, however, and the overall organization of this book would not serve effectively for many students. Thus, the section on metabolism gives little sense of integration and control. Regrettably, there are no quick fixes to deal with the increasing amount of material in this field: the student is advised to learn principles rather than memorize reactions. Application in context will be easier under such circumstances. Those needing a compilation that is thorough and concise will find this book of value.
Assessment: This book is somewhat outdated. The coverage is generally thorough, but the multiauthor format leads to revision of individual sections and less attention to how the material should be presented for pedagogic efficacy. There are many attempts to address the information problem and most students welcome study aids in this complex field. Although the presentation is somewhat dated, some students will find merit here.