The introduction to this unadorned guide to over 170 medical tests states that it was "created to help you understand the essentials of modern diagnostic testing, particularly the tests that are commonly done in adults over the age of 50." Margolis (medicine and biological chemistry, Johns Hopkins Univ.) urges the reader to take the knowledge gained from this book and ask informed questions, raise concerns regarding insurance, and make "more educated decisions." The entries, generally about two pages long, list the test's purpose and special concerns, what the results may mean, pretest preparations, risks and complications, and estimated cost. Included are chapters on home testing, genetic screening, and the pros and cons of diagnostic imaging, as well as an index and a guide to effective use of the book. Unfortunately, though a 14-page color atlas appears, none of the tests is illustrated a considerable drawback when a user might want a line drawing of, for example, "Fine Needle Aspiration of a Neck Mass." Nor is the language user-friendly. Though the Mayo Clinic's Everything You Need To Know About Medical Tests (Springhouse, 1996) does not include new procedures such as "Breast Thermography" (included here), it covers over 400 tests with numerous line drawings. Over 200 tests are covered in the thorough, illustrated Yale University School of Medicine Patient's Guide to Medical Tests (Houghton, 1997). Given these alternatives, The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide is not an essential purchase for consumer health libraries. Martha E. Stone, Treadwell Lib., Boston Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.