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From The CriticsReviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
Description: This is the second edition of a comprehensive treatise of laboratory medicine.
Purpose: The original purpose of this book was to provide a comprehensive book on laboratory medicine that incorporates the multidisciplinary practice of today - i.e., a complex interplay of tests in histology, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, molecular diagnostics, and other pathology areas that are now necessary for diagnosis and disease management. This edition was undertaken to provide information on the new technologies that have appeared since the publication of the first edition. The authors have succeeded admirably in achieving their stated goal.
Audience: This book would be very useful to those interested in laboratory medicine - especially clinical laboratory scientists (CLSs) or medical laboratory technicians (MLTs) in training. Practicing CLSs, MLTs, and pathologists might also find it useful to become familiar with new technology. Finally, this book would interest anyone curious about the practice of laboratory medicine today.
Features: My first impression of this book was that it is absolutely beautiful. There is a lot of color - in the general text subheadings, on title pages separating sections, in the multitude of color figures - that catches the eye immediately. This effective use of color enhances the text - which by itself is excellent and could stand alone. This book is relatively unique in the field, in that it discusses all aspects of a laboratory and integrates the information nicely across disciplines traditionally grouped into either anatomical or clinical pathology. There is overlap between chapters; this was intentional to emphasize the integrated way in which different disciplines within the laboratory must now work to maximize diagnostic potential and efficiency. The authors are to be commended for including the recent new technology - e.g., laser capture microdissection, microarrays, molecular genetic testing. The chapters are informative yet appropriately circumspect in discussing the use of these rapidly evolving technologies in clinical care today. The chapter on automation in the virology laboratory is a great example of the fresh approach of this book - not only did it discuss the various technologies and instrumentation, it also discussed efficiency, cost analysis, quality systems, and use of automation to improve the competitive position of the laboratory — all in six pages! Each chapter is similarly innovative. Since the book is "only" 500 pages long, it's clear that a comprehensive discussion of all issues was not undertaken. To address this less than comprehensive approach, each chapter ends with a short reading list of more definitive references, a nice touch for those wanting more in-depth information.
Assessment: This is a valuable addition to any laboratory medicine library. I'm going to keep it handy. I'm already worried that I might lose my copy to the many visitors to the laboratory who are always asking me why specimens go to different and seemingly discrete areas of the laboratory yet generate results, that when integrated correctly, yield the correct diagnosis and strategies for disease management.