Ferrara (The Writers Directory) has expanded the focus of this four-volume set to cater to adult readers (the previous edition was written for teens), with almost 90 new subjects and a total of 400 diseases and conditions. New entries cover, e.g., caffeine-related disorders, SARS, Internet-addiction disorders, public health issues such as chemical poisoning, and general topics such as gay, lesbian, and transgender health. The entries include a brief definition and the phonetic spelling of the term and cover what the disease or condition is and its prevalence, etiology, symptoms, and prevention and treatment. Some entries begin with a brief story about someone who has the disease, and each ends with a list of relevant resources of articles, books, web sites, or health organizations, as well as cross-references. The illustrations are in color, as are term definitions in the margins. This edition also has three features that do not appear in the 2000 edition: a bibliography, a glossary, and a list of organizations. The articles and books included as resources are geared toward both consumers and professionals and cover a wide range of reading levels. The entries are accessible to patrons from a high school reading level and above, and the colorful display adds appeal. BOTTOM LINE Libraries who own the first edition and its supplements should consider purchasing this expanded version. Libraries may also want to consider Magill's Medical Guide. Readers who want more specific information should look to Omnigraphics' "Health Reference" series or the Facts On File reference books. Recommended for public libraries.—Rebecca Raszewski, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Originally published in 2000 with two supplements issued a few years later, this revised, substantially expanded, and even more widely focused edition of a well-received resource offers 450 entries on a host of diseases and conditions. It also covers less-expected conditions such as "Homelessness," "Internet Addiction," and "School Avoidance." A select number of biographical sketches (with the contributions of women particularly highlighted) and discussions of related enrichment topics from "Brain Chemistry" to "Vaccination" broaden the scope even further. Each of the alphabetically arranged articles opens with a brief definition and, typically, a case study, then goes on to explain, in specific but not overwhelming detail, known causes, symptoms, diagnosis methods, treatments, and prognosis. Special terms or subjects receive once-overs in the broad margins, and each entry closes with a list of further resources and relevant organizations. Generous "see" references supplement the comprehensive set index. Though the occasional small color photos or diagrams are more decorative than enlightening, and the further-reading resources have all been needlessly cumulated into huge sections in the final volume, this set makes an appealing alternative to the plethora of one-volume health encyclopedias. A worthy choice for readers needing specific but not heavily technical medical background.—John Peters, New York Public Library