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From The CriticsReviewer: Maria Elena Rhoads-Baeza, MD, PhD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This review of adolescent health issues is the result of a symposium organized to identify important issues and gaps in knowledge surrounding the menstrual cycle. The book provides a review of various topics relating to the normal menstrual cycle, disease processes, and social and psychological issues related to adolescent health.
Purpose: As stated in the preface, the purpose of the meeting was to gain an appreciation for the menstrual cycle in adolescents, identify gaps in knowledge, and to develop a research agenda in this field. This book aims to improve the present and future health of young women by highlighting associations between the menstrual cycle and various aspects of adolescent health.
Audience: The book is written for providers and researchers in the field of women's health. The chapter subjects range from the basic science of the menstrual cycle and review on aspects of adolescent health to ethical considerations and patients' stories about their experiences struggling with certain illnesses. The wide variation in subject matter suggests that different chapters in the book have different audiences within the population of researchers and practitioners.
Features: Various aspects of the menstrual cycle are covered, including basic molecular biology and physiology as well as disorders associate with the menstrual cycle in young women. There are areas of overlap within chapters in each section (e.g. reviewing the physiology of the menstrual cycle), and the authors concede to important omissions, such as the lack of discussion on contraception. The content in many chapters is specific and detailed and geared toward researchers more than practitioners, which is consistent with the goal of the meeting.
Assessment: Overall, this is a useful compilation of research on basic aspects of the menstrual cycle as it affects adolescents. The information is current, and a resource for researchers interested in contributing to the field. However, there are other references for practitioners, which provide a broader overview of issues associated with the menstrual cycle. This book has significant omissions, which, as noted by the editors, will be addressed in other volumes.