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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mark Davis, MD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: As medical schools across the nation have begun to change to organ-based systems of study, Dr. Chamberlain identified the need for an organ-based clinical microbiology book and has released one which focuses on the aspects of microbiology most applicable to the practice of clinical medicine.
Purpose: This book covers the most commonly encountered pathogens and presentations of clinical microbiology. It is designed to bridge the gap between PhD-oriented medical school lectures and the practical knowledge of microbiology used by clinical physicians. It focuses on the most common pathogens and clinical manifestations of infectious disease and, as Dr. Chamberlain boldly states in the preface, "the parade of microorganisms does not exist in this book."
Audience: This is in a league of its own, encompassing aspects of a textbook, an atlas, and a high yield quick-reference book. It would be suitable as a supplemental book for first- and second-year medical students who are questioning the relevance of their microbiology studies and want to obtain an early overview (the big picture) as they memorize the molecular details of bacteria and viruses. However, this book is best suited for third and fourth year medical students and residents who need to adapt their textbook knowledge of microbiology and transition into the clinical practice of infectious disease.
Features: This is essentially a head-to-toe review of the high yield concepts of infectious disease presented in 10 sections (organ systems). Each of these sections is further divided into chapters, with the first chapter of each section, titled "the big picture," providing a review of the pathophysiology specific to that organ system. Each chapter then follows a standard format of overview, etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, manifestation, diagnosis, and therapy from which the reader can quickly identify the goals of the author. There is some redundancy, especially with the etiology and epidemiology sections, but again the layout is so clearly defined it is easy to skim through these sections. I also appreciate the clearly defined terminology as well as the consistency of the terminology (especially between the text and the tables), which again enhances readability. This system of dividing the book into organ-based sections, chapters, and subheadings makes it a very easy to use quick reference.
Assessment: As Dr. Chamberlain acknowledges, there is a fundamental shift that occurs as medical students move from the classroom to the clinical setting, and their study of microbiology morphs into the practice of infectious disease. As is the intention of this book, it is not written as a primary microbiology textbook. It has enough detail to refresh the reader's background knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and microbiology, yet it emphasizes the relationship between microorganisms and the clinical manifestation of disease. For medical students and residents looking for a book that emphasizes the clinical presentation and treatment of human pathogens, this is highly recommended. Overall, this is a beautifully bound workbook-style text, with high-gloss pages and well oriented color pictures, tables, and diagrams. This is the book that will help new medical practitioners to see the forest for the trees of infectious disease.