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From The CriticsReviewer: Robert W. Teel, PhD (Loma Linda University)
Description: This is the fifth edition of a book that covers the physiology of the major systems of the human body, prefaced by relevant cell physiology. Nine contributors and six reviewers worked on the book. Each chapter is adequately referenced and includes study questions at the end. Illustrations and tables enhance the text. There is limited use of color and the color scheme is modified from the previous edition. The book is appropriately organized and includes equations that are helpful in understanding concepts. Key terms are boldly printed. Most chapters have a summary section of numbered paragraphs at the end. The layout is basically the same as the previous edition, which was published in 1998.
Purpose: The purpose is to emphasize broad concepts in physiology and to avoid facts that are isolated. Illustrations, charts, and tables are included to facilitate the understanding of principles. Information highlighted in color boxes are intended to expand upon information in the text and to introduce clinical relevance.
Audience: Students in the healthcare professions, particularly in dentistry, medicine, and graduate school who need physiology in their training can use the book. It also could be of value to practicing clinicians, residents and interns, teaching faculty, and others needing a quality, current physiology textbook. The authors are authoritative on the subject and have contributed in areas of their expertise.
Features: The book covers the physiology of the systems of the human body beginning with the nervous system. Several chapters are devoted to eachmajor system and are organized for clarity. The summary information at the end of each chapter is helpful for focusing on the key points. The appendix contains answers to the study questions at the ends of the chapters as well as numerous multiple-choice questions with answers organized by chapter. These test questions are very helpful in providing a venue for determining understanding of the physiological concepts and in preparation for actual examinations that use the multiple-choice format. In general, the illustrations, although lacking state-of-the-art style, add to understanding rather than complicating concepts. Having clinically relevant information highlighted in color boxes adds to the usefulness of the book and fleshes out the applications that an understanding of physiological concepts can have.
Assessment: Truthfully, the new edition differs little from the previous one. Some important additions have been made, but even the preface basically is a repeat of the earlier edition. Going through the two editions page by page doesn't show significant differences other than a change in the use of color in illustrations, section headings, and boxed highlights. I was disappointed that the new edition did not reflect the illustrations in the paperback edition Principles of Physiology, 3rd edition, by the same authors (Mosby, 2000). In comparison with the first edition book by Boron and Boulpaep, Medical Physiology (Elsevier Science, 2003), the Berne book does not flow as nicely, lacks the quality of organization, and certainly comes nowhere near the quality of illustrations.