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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This is intended to serve as a text for a course in medical biochemistry. Topical coverage reflects what is usually taught. The first edition was published in 1998.
Purpose: The goal is to provide a slimmed-down version of a biochemistry text that will be more accessible to medical students. Given the encyclopedic nature of standard texts in this area, this is a worthwhile objective. This book can be considered a partial success.
Audience: The target audience is the student taking medical biochemistry. The level seems about correct but the material could be readily managed by most senior undergraduates. The authors have had experience in teaching this material in a medical school environment.
Features: Texts most often cited/suggested/assigned for student use in a medical biochemistry course are large compendia, frequently a thousand pages or more, lavishly illustrated and possessing far more information than needed. This book represents an effort to edit down the material, thus allowing the student to focus on essential items. The organization of the book presumably follows the courses taught in the home institution of the authors, starting with structural considerations, followed by discussions of information flow, cell and tissue organization, and metabolism. Each chapter has a few multiple choice questions (answers at the end of the book) and a short supplemental reading list. The latter could not be considered bibliographic and would short change the student interested in more detailed knowledge. There is a reasonably complete glossary and a useful index. Although thorough knowledge of the contents would serve most students, there is little challenge in the text, a problem especially true for the study questions. Clinical relevance is occasional and somewhat insufficient given the trend towards greater integration of clinical and basic science material. The goal of content reduction is good, but this effort only partially succeeds.
Assessment: This is a moderate effort to solve a real problem. Organization of the material is not optimal and opportunities for clinical integration are missed. New information in the last eight years does justify a new edition.