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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert W. Teel, PhD (Loma Linda University)
Description: This softcover physiology book is updated and revised from the original printing in 1995 — a revision long in coming. There are 18 contributors, most from the same institution. The organization is student friendly with a brief outline and key concepts at the beginning of each chapter. Illustrations are simple and uncluttered. The review questions with explanations are very helpful for student learning and comprehension. The clinical case presentations at the ends of sections are very valuable in bringing clinical relevance to an understanding of physiological concepts. The clinical focus boxes throughout the text also contribute to this. The references are adequate in most cases and the appendix with definitions of abbreviations and the clinical lab values inside the front and back covers are valuable aids.
Purpose: The authors present a book that is neither simple nor too detailed. It is intended that the book provide clear, accurate, and up-to-date material in human physiology. It is designed to avoid presenting information that would not be appropriate for those students who have little interest in the details of research data to underscore a concept. Areas that are subject to controversy have been omitted. The book is concise but complete and has the relevant presentation of systems physiology to provide for appropriate understanding in preparation for diagnosis and treatment of disease. The objectives of the authors of the book are met well.
Audience: Primarily, the book is written for medical students, but it is also useful for students in other healthcare areas. It lacks the overall depth that a serious graduate student in physiology might need. The book could also be used by practicing physicians as well as residents, although again in critical areas it may not be adequate to give explanations that might be demanded. The authors are credible, experienced in teaching medical students and have contributed in areas of their expertise.
Features: The book begins with basic concepts in homeostasis and cell membrane physiology and then proceeds to cover the major physiological systems of the human body. The organization of the chapters is such that students should find reading comfortable. The clinical focus boxes bring clinical relevance to the material being presented. The test questions with answers and particularly the clinical cases with explanations of questions are distinct plus features of the textbook. The illustrations are adequate and easy to understand, although they lack the flair that other textbooks out there now have but that flair adds to the cost of the book. I was somewhat surprised that this book cost as much as some other quality hardcover books.
Assessment: Eight years is a long time between editions. There are numerous other books out there written at this level and some are more detailed and academic in content but most use a limited amount of color print, probably to reduce publication costs. This book lacks the authoritativeness of Berne and Levy's Physiology, 5th edition (Elsevier Science, 2004), but its organization and the expansiveness of test questions and clinical cases make it a useful addition to the field. However, the best written and styled textbook in the field, in my mind, is the Boron and Boulpaep, Medical Physiology (Elsevier Science, 2003).