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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This book provides an integrated overview of the molecular aspects of human metabolism. Frequent references to clinical material are included.
Purpose: The goal of the author is to provide students of medicine (and biomedical science) with a composite picture of key aspects of metabolism, growth, development, and disease with a strong molecular emphasis. This is a worthwhile undertaking and the book is largely successful.
Audience: The intended audience are students of medicine with a secondary audience of teaching faculty in medical school basic science departments. The author has the appropriate credentials.
Features: Many biomedical books have titles that have little relationship to content. In this book, the author provides a broad introduction to molecular aspects of normal metabolism and aberrations encountered in disease. Rather than provide the usual compilation of biochemical pathways (the bane of many medical students), the requisite material is offered in a more conceptual framework and liberally adorned with clinical examples — an ambitious undertaking but a largely successful one. There is material of value for both students and instructors (especially for the latter seeking a new approach for well worn topics). The book is divided into five general sections: the initial one reviews aspects of protein structure and function, nucleic acids and their cellular organization; the following chapters cover aspects of receptors, nutrition, cell-cell interactions and the cytoskeleton. In keeping with a progression from molecules to cells to the organism, subsequent chapters include material on signal transduction (presented in a way that the casual reader is able to follow), cell cycle control and development. There are many clinical vignettes, reasonably illustrated. Although there are a few technical errors (amino acid formula, for example), these do not detract from a book that can be highly recommended. Both student and teacher will derive valuable information from this book.
Assessment: This is a welcome approach to the teaching of human metabolism at the molecular level — integrated and thoughtful. The author is to be commended for this undertaking since it provides a long overdue departure from traditional teaching texts.