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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This is one of many review books in the basic medical sciences. This second edition primarily represents inclusion of some new material rather than an extensive rewrite of the 7-year-old first edition.
Purpose: The aim is to provide a convenient review of biochemistry for medical students preparing for their licensing examinations. It is highly debatable whether this is worthwhile. Students lacking key knowledge in the area will not find this book helpful.
Audience: Medical students hoping to find critical nuggets of information are the intended audience. The author has had some experience in teaching biochemistry.
Features: Quick fix solutions are a hallmark of our time — rapid weight loss, instant improvement in sexual performance, etc. This book is one of many that cater to medical students preparing for the first step of the licensing examination. Biochemistry is broadly reviewed, beginning with a discussion of the types of molecules encountered and continuing through the usual metabolic pathways, information flow, and a bit about biotechnology. Nutritional material is presented in a separate chapter rather than integrated throughout the metabolic section. Practice examinations conclude the text. There are no references, either to more comprehensive coverage or landmark papers of broad interest. Regrettably, there are errors of fact. Although not numerous, some are egregious and present a particular difficulty for the uninformed reader. Books of this genre are generally not seen by faculty (they tend to refer to the standard comprehensive texts and occasionally to review these) and as a result, mistakes are usually not corrected. This puts users at a disadvantage since they have no way of realizing that, for example, dolichol is not a component of glycoproteins. Most medical educators wish to instill habits of lifelong learning in their students. This requires an approach to material not reflected in this book.
Assessment: This is a weak effort that does not merit purchase. Errors in this type of book are serious and the fact that this is a second edition suggests inadequate proofreading or some lack of knowledge. Either way, it is not satisfactory.