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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
Description: This is the fourth edition of a book encompassing theory, practice, and clinical applications of immunology and serology for clinical laboratory technician (CLT) or scientist (CLS) students and instructors. The previous edition was published in 2003.
Purpose: The author intends this book for CLT or CLS training programs, and as a reference for practicing CLSs or other allied health practitioners interested in this field. These worthy objectives, unfortunately, are not well met by this book.
Audience: Although aimed at CLT or CLS students or practicing CLSs or allied health professionals, the book would also be of interest to anyone curious about these clinical laboratory techniques and applications to diagnosis and disease management. The author is widely recognized for her educational expertise in clinical laboratory science.
Features: This 500-page full size book covers the two immense subjects of immunology and serology. Although the focus is on aspects of these disciplines applicable to the clinical laboratory, the book cannot possibly (and therefore does not) cover all relevant areas. First, the positives — the usual we've come to expect (and thus are spoiled by) from books by this author: clear concise text, clear expectations (learning objectives), standardized and logical chapter layouts, excellent content, great case studies to emphasize teaching points, and appropriate references. All in all, great features for a student textbook. However, here's what I don't like about this book. First, to reiterate, these two subjects are aboslutely immense. Although the author is trying to provide an all-encompassing book for immunology and serology, the reality is that this book skims the surface of these fields. There is inadequate discussion of the medical aspects, and the laboratory assays represent only a subset of those typically ascribed to immunology or serology labs. As an example, there is only one five-page chapter devoted to flow immunocytometry, yet entire textbooks have been devoted to this subject alone. Similarly, entire textbooks have been devoted to each of the clinical laboratory methdologies addressed in this book (e.g., Manual of Molecular and Clinical Laboratory Immunology, 7th edition, Detrick et al. (ASM Press, 2006); Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 9th edition, Murray et al. (ASM Press, 2007), for serological testing; Practical Flow Cytometry, 4th edition, Shapiro (John Wiley, 2003); Modern Blood Banking and Transfusion Practices, 5th edition, Harmening (F. A. Davis, 2005); the Lange series on medical immunology (McGraw-Hill), etc.). The lack of color photographs or photomicrographs for depicting peripheral blood smear findings or physical exam findings of various diseases is disappointing. The black-and-white photos don't have the same impact or teaching effect. The author clearly gave this book idea a good try, but it's not enough to do these burgeoning fields justice.
Assessment: This is a reasonable book to have available for reference and teaching, but unfortunately inadequate to cover laboratory and clinical science theory and technologies in these rapidly evolving areas.