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From The CriticsReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This is the second edition of a how-to book for primary care practitioners in health promotion and disease prevention. The first edition was published in 1996, so there is a significant amount of information that has changed since then. However, despite the 2008 copyright, the references appear to be somewhat dated, with a few from 2006.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to provide a how-to of preventive medicine. While the book does give some procedure-oriented information, such as how to do insert an IUD and the correct pace walking gait and arm swing, there are important gaps, such as in what a patient needs to know about the insertion and effectiveness of estrogen implants for contraception. In general, the book's comprehensiveness is spotty.
Audience: The intended audience is anyone who is in a counseling position, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, etc. In an attempt to be a reference for all levels of practitioners, the book appears to miss some of the significant issues physicians should be aware of and at times gives detail not appropriate for a physician extender-level counselor.
Features: A major area of concern is the statement of guidelines in the book that the authors have described as "generally conforming to those of evidence-based groups...." There are numerous, sometimes conflicting guidelines published by various groups that cause confusion among laypersons. This book increases that burden unnecessarily. There is no problem comparing the different guidelines, discussing the pros and cons of each, but there is no need to add an additional set. The goal should be to state what guidelines are actually supported by definitive evidence and, where there is no evidence, label the guidance as expert opinion if the author is, in fact, an expert on the subject. The book also has a tendency to unnecessarily define new terms such as "non aerobic exercise." Finally, a significant negative aspect is the incomplete information. Those accepting the role of counselor must be ready to address all aspects of a subject. The chapter on depression, mood disorders, and cognitive impairment includes nothing on suicidal ideation, which potentially could be a major component during these discussions. Likewise, the chapter on sexually transmitted infections includes no mention of the counseling of patients following exposure to hepatitis B or HIV. These are serious and important current issues in disease prevention.
Assessment: A how-to book on health promotion and disease prevention is a great way to separate the evidence-based understanding of the subject from the all too common wisdom that has dominated the subject. This book unfortunately falls short of this goal.