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500 Referenced Review Questions in Toxicology.

500 Referenced Review Questions in Toxicology. Robert M. White, Sr. Washington, DC: AACC Press, 2002, 142 pp., $29.00 ($23.00 AACC members). ISBN 1-890883-74-3.

The objective of this short book is to assist toxicologists who wish to evaluate or refresh their knowledge and interest in the field. Based on the author's long experience in clinical and forensic toxicology, his book presents a list of 500 true/false or multiple choice questions. The originality is that each answer is accompanied by a reference that allows a clarification of the proposed answer and may guide readers to refresh their knowledge. Most questions deal with analytical toxicology and drugs. Whereas some questions address very basic knowledge (e.g., definition of an antagonism), others deal with laboratory situations for which decisions have to be made according to appropriate guidelines specifically in force in the US (e.g., failure to reconfirm the presence of cocaine metabolites in a urine specimen). Often, it is not sufficient to detect the correct or the false answer because several correct statements may exist, and the reader is expected to identify all of them, which is much more difficult.

As indicated in the author's short introduction, it is common that toxicologists give diverging interpretations of the same data. In this respect, some proposed answers may appear surprising and questionable (e.g., for question 182, superoxide anion is not only detoxified by superoxide dismutase but also by catalase and glutathione peroxidase, and for question 179, increased cytochrome P450 activity results from gene duplication or stimulation of a preexisting enzyme by a xenobiotic). When checking the references carefully, I noticed that the proposed answers resulted from the extraction of a few lines and a graph legend, respectively, both out of context.

If one criticism has to be voiced, it is that many questions call for passive theoretical knowledge, such as the recognition of structural formulae or the memorization of numeric values such as drug elimination half-lives or molecular weight. However, an effort is made toward practical applications, and the abundant use of spectra, chromatograms, or printouts requires appropriate interpretation. Whereas most questions relating to analytical or forensic toxicology are referenced with primary source publications, those dealing with general toxicology principles are almost exclusively based on Ellenhorn s Toxicology (1996) or the 5th edition of Casarett and Doull's Toxicology (1996), regrettably not the latest (2001) edition.

A quick survey of these 500 referenced review questions will rapidly convince any experienced toxicologist of the need to polish his or her knowledge.

Dominique F. Lison

Catholic University of Louvain

Brussels, 1200 Belgium
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Author:Lison, Dominique F.
Publication:Clinical Chemistry
Date:Dec 1, 2002
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