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From The CriticsReviewer: Edward Abraham, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This third edition softcover primer deals with the metabolic and mineral aspects of bone as they relate to disease states. The American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) is the official sponsor of this book.
Purpose: The primer's purpose, according to its editor, is to give a reasonably thorough but concise update on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, clinical presentation, and treatment of "bone and mineral disorders." These worthwhile objectives are, for the most part, met.
Audience: The book is written both for the benefit of basic scientists and clinicians with a special interest in the human skeleton. It is going to be of particular interest to endocrinologists, internists, pediatricians, nephrologists, orthopedists, radiologists, rheumatologists, medical students, and residents. Also, those in the basic sciences involved with bone, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, genetics, and embryology are expected to use it as an important resource. The editor, Murray J. Favus, MD, is Director of both the Bone Program and the General Clinical Research Center and is Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago. He is internationally known for his expertise in this field. His 13 associate editors and other contributing authors are all highly qualified in their respective fields.
Features: The primer tends to have less illustrations than the standard textbook. This may be necessary to restrict size and cost of the volume. The references are all current and relevant for each chapter. The book is organized into 11 sections. The first sections deal with anatomy, biology, biochemistry, physiology of organic and inorganic aspects of bone. Then there are excellent sections on disorders of serum minerals and metabolic bone diseases. There are separate sections for Paget's Disease and nephrolithiasis. The appendix section is of particular value; one of its several tables cover in depth the formulary of drugs commonly used in treating mineral disorders. The overall appearance and organization of the book are most satisfactory.
Assessment: This field of bone and mineral metabolism was formally organized in 1977 by a group of basic scientists and clinicians who formed the ASBMR. This book's format and purpose are comparable to that of the popular Primer on Rheumatic Diseases, which is published by the Arthritis Foundation. In some medical schools the curricula do not adequately expose the students to the musculoskeletal system. It may behoove this Society, at some point, to consider distributing their primer free of charge to medical students and residents. The editor and his associates had the monumental task of bringing several disciplines together to produce a truly coherent work. They are to be commended for a work very well done. The book is expected to generate great appeal in all the related specialties and among basic researchers. The question is whether there is sufficient information in each area to warrant individual purchase of the book. I strongly recommend its purchase by those who are actively involved in the field, such as endocrinologists, other internists, orthopedic surgeons, and molecular basic scientists. This book is recommended for all medical and science libraries as a reference source. (Editor's Note: The publisher has informed us that the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, with the support of Merck, does distribute the Primer free of charge each year to about 12,000 residents and fellows in orthopedics, endocrinology, family practice, rheumatology, nephrology, and internal medicine. Program Directors must contact the publisher to have their programs considered for the distribution program.)