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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David L. Osborne, PhD (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center)
Description: This update of the physiology book made famous by Vander, Sherman and Luciano and now authored by Widmaier, Raff and Strang is directed at students in undergraduate biology and health science courses. The 10th edition was published in 2006.
Purpose: The authors state that they "wish to continue the high standards developed by the previous authors" and to address the "evolving needs of students and instructors today." This book continues to address the needs of undergraduate physiology courses which require current and rigorous coverage of human physiology. The book is effective in meeting the authors' objectives. However, I am not sure if a new edition was truly needed after only two years.
Audience: The book is directed mainly at students who are in undergraduate or introductory graduate programs in the life or health sciences. It effectively addresses the topics in a manner that is appropriate for beginning students who possess a basic background in introductory biology and chemistry. The authors have a significant background writing for students at this and higher levels.
Features: The first five chapters set the stage by introducing core concepts that lay the foundation of physiology in a crisp, concise manner. The rest of the book is organized in a classic organ system format. The exception to this pattern is the very effective way that the book addresses the endocrine system in both a single chapter and within each organ-related chapter. Each chapter is organized in a similar manner with an outline, the text, and summaries with various types of questions at the end. A very helpful feature for students is the question within a figure that promotes critical thinking that is also answered at the end of the chapter. The book ends with a chapter that presents clinical examples as a way of integrating the material.
Assessment: The new authors have hit their stride with this edition, with significant improvements over the previous two. The text is clearly written and understandable for novice readers. This new edition is as good as any other book on the market today within this area.