There are many medical encyclopedias and dictionaries for the professional that discuss disorders of the human body, but "Magill's Medical Guide" may be easier for the layperson to understand. This set makes a good effort to bridge the gap, providing laypeople with a reference source on medical disorders that is professional in its presentation
The work provides 375 essays on major diseases and disorders. There are three types of articles. In the first, the disorder is briefly defined, the system of the body affected is indicated, and the types of specialists who would treat the disorder are identified. Medium-length entries provide, in addition, a short essay on causes and symptoms and treatment and therapy. "See also" suggestions are provided as well as a short bibliography for futher reading. The third type of entry may be more than 2,500 words in length. It includes a list of key terms with definitions and a section on "perspective and prospects.
All three types of entries are well written and up-to-date, with bibliographies that may include 1993 citations. Covered are specific disorders as well as groups of afflictions that attack a particular body system, such as ear infections and disorders. Also covered are topics that are not disorders but that may be associated at some time with one, such as aging, menopause, or death and dying. Perhaps because Salem titles are marketed to high schools, there is no entry for contraception and only definitions for sexually transmitted diseases. Each volume has its own table of contents, a list of all the essays in the set, plus lists of entries arranged by medical specialization and by system affected. Volume 3 has a fairly detailed subject index
Although this cannot be called comprehensive with only 375 disorders, it does an adequate job of covering the most common ones. The bibliographies are well selected, pointing the reader to more comprehensive sources when needed. Other guides for laypeople, such as the "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book", also contain information on diseases. The "Professional Guide to Diseases" (4th ed., Springhouse, 1991) has briefer entries for 600 diseases. For example, the entry on AIDS in the "Professional Guide" is 2 xba pages in length, while in "Magill's" it is 4 xba pages. "Magill's" would be a good choice for high-school and public libraries; academic libraries with no medical school may want to consider "Magill's" for their general reference collection.
The first of two reference sets planned to provide a general overview of the field of medicine from two perspectives. The current set provides information on the major disorders of the human body in 375 articles. (The second set, slated for publication in 1996, will consider the institution of medicine itself.) The articles are arranged alphabetically and range from brief definitions of 100 to 350 words, to essay-length treatments of 2,500 to 3,500 words. Articles focus both on specific disorders and on a range of afflictions attacking a particular system, such as Liver disorders. The majority of articles treat physical disorders, but entries also consider psychic-emotional and learning disorders. Finally, some basic conditions of life are covered, such as Aging, Pregnancy, Menopause, and Sexuality. Includes b&w drawings. Accessible to a wide audience, but with the careful treatment characteristic of Magill books. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)