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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert W. Teel, PhD (Loma Linda University)
Description: This book is somewhat unique in that questions are stated in each chapter dealing with concepts and issues in physiology with explanations following each question. Illustrations are simple, black-and-white, and in general help in grasping concepts being considered. There are tables that summarize pertinent information and a bibliography at the end of each chapter. Exam or study questions for each chapter in the book are found at the end of the book and answers are provided. Material that relates more to neuroscience is not included.
Purpose: The purpose is to present physiology as answers to pertinent questions but in a manner that integrates organ systems while emphasizing the cellular and molecular aspects. The author's purpose is noteworthy and, overall, the objectives have been met.
Audience: The book is written for students taking a solid course in physiology. There is no emphasis on any one specialized area particularly, but rather the book attempts to cover all areas of physiology except for those that relate more to neuroscience. The credibility of the book is significantly elevated by the contributions of multiple authorities who have written chapters.
Features: In addition to the chapters that cover the basic important areas of physiology, there are useful chapters covering electrophysiology, signaling, genomics, exercise, and aging. The same format is used throughout even though the chapters may have been written by different authors. Each chapter succinctly summarizes pertinent information that relates to important concepts in specific areas of physiology. Efforts have been made to contain the cost of the book and therefore illustrations lack the flair seen in most recently published books of physiology. The bibliography section at the end of each chapter is often quite limited and some of the references are not very current. The use of the term "secrets" seems trivial.
Assessment: The concise approach to answering the questions that are basic to grasping the key concepts of physiology can be helpful when the book is used, as the authors state, as a supplement to standard textbooks in physiology. The book seems more appropriate for a more advanced course in physiology and does incorporate clinical relevance. The chapters covering areas like genomics, bone physiology, and aging are not always included in standard textbooks. The absence of chapters in areas covered in a neuroscience course is appropriate only if the student also takes a neuroscience course. There are other books whose purpose is to summarize or review the key areas of physiology such as Basic Concepts in Physiology: A Student's Survival Guide by Seidel (McGraw-Hill, 2002). This edition is essential since new chapters have been included and previous chapters updated to reflect new information. A real strength of the book is the contribution of multiple individuals to the writing of the chapters.