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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert W. Teel, PhD (Loma Linda University)
Description: This book employs a readable style to present information on the important areas of medical physiology in sufficient detail to provide students with appropriate knowledge and understanding of physiological functions of the human body. Figures and tables appropriately complement the text. The contents section is organized well and the index is adequately detailed to make finding a topic easy. Study questions are grouped together near the end of the book and are useful for determining understanding of concepts. They are not, however, structured like the current USMLE exam questions but are nonetheless helpful. This text is updated from 1999.
Purpose: The book can be used by medical students and others for the study of medical physiology. It is a rather detailed book with updated information making it useful as a reference, but may be too detailed for a review book that medical students, in particular, are prone to opt for. The objectives are appropriate and basically met.
Audience: The current and detailed information is appropriate for medical and graduate students, but is also appropriate for residents and practitioners who need details about physiological processes that may aid in their diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The book might be most useful to physicians in family practice and in internal medicine, but could also be useful to those in other specialties. The author is certainly a recognized authority in physiology and has faithfully generated revisions of the book to keep it as current as a book can be.
Features: The physiological systems of the human body are covered. This typically includes several chapters on each system, e.g., 16 chapters cover neurophysiology. The sequence of presentation is a decision of the author and could be rearranged without negating the value of the book. I would recommend some changes: follow the neurophysiology section with cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, then gastrointestinal followed by endocrine. I would also recommend placing the study questions at the end of each chapter rather than grouping them all near the end of the book. The book is compact and rather inexpensive as textbooks go. The fact that it is softcover, combined with the somewhat small print and lack of color illustrations, helps minimize the cost. The appendix is useful and the study questions are designed to facilitate understanding. The author is to be commended for continuing to improve the readability of the text and for keeping abreast of new information in the field.
Assessment: "This edition for the most part has few changes, but does include more current information in certain areas. Although titled a review, this book is not likely to be viewed by medical students on the same level as the Board Review Series: Physiology Cases and Problems (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001) by Costanzo. However, the Board Review Series book is limited in detail and not likely as current. Neither is this book of the quality as Guyton and Hall's Textbook of Medical Physiology, 10th edition (W.B. Saunders, 2000) or Berne and Levy's Physiology, 4th edition (Mosby, 1998). Some recent texts written with a case-based approach (such as Physiological Medicine: A Clinical Approach to Basic Medical Physiology (McGraw-Hill, 2000) by Lingappa and Farey) may have a greater appeal to medical students. The Ganong text contains current as well as classic information on each physiological system, and the information is detailed enough for students to gain a thorough understanding and for practitioners to use as a reference when they need a review of physiological mechanisms. The updated revision is appropriate and the book has an edge over other books that are revised less frequently. "