This review was cowritten by Sean Boley, MD (Regions Hospital)
This is a collection of 150 4-inch by 7-inch cards - each with a creative and colorful illustration on one side depicting a topic in toxicology and a written description of the topic on the other side.
Purpose: The stated purpose of this thorough and humorous collection of cards is to provide a learning and memory retention aid for medical providers at all levels of training interested in toxicology. Augmenting traditional lectures and textbooks, these cards fill a niche for visual learners and certainly meet the authors' objectives.
Audience: Learners at all levels are the intended audience medical students, nurses, physician assistants, and physicians. The cards range in complexity from basic topics that would be obvious to experienced practitioners to higher-level topics that may challenge new students. The authors certainly demonstrate their depth of knowledge and creativity with this project.
Features: The cards cover a wide range of topics loosely organized into sections. The introductory section includes mnemonic aids to help remember various syndromes, signs, and symptoms caused by particular toxins. All toxidromes are colorfully illustrated with their signs/symptoms, causes, and treatment. The remaining cards cover drugs of abuse, underlying physiology, medication overdoses, and heavy metal ingestions. Despite the strength of the overall collection, many cards have an overwhelming wealth of information that can be redundant, while others have little more than a simple illustration. In many cases, the simplest cards outshine the more complex ones in terms of clarity and likelihood of being useful as a learning aid. Some of the topics are not well explained by their descriptions, so their usefulness would be limited. The collection of cards does not include any citations or recommendations for further learning on a topic.
Assessment: Overall, the quality of the illustrations and content of the cards is very good. As a tool in learning the complex and memory-intensive field of toxicology, these cards would be valuable to many learners. While illustrations and memory aids have long been used to teach toxicology, this is certainly the most comprehensive effort. Despite this collection of cards being somewhat unwieldy, a wide range of learners would find many of them exceptionally helpful in learning the fascinating and rigorous field of toxicology.