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Clinical Dermatology, 3d ed.

This is an excellent pocketbook written for family physicians by a dermatologist. It could earn a place, however, in the labcoat pockets of medical students and residents in all medical specialists.

Even though I would have preferred to see a book for family physicians written by a family physician, this author impressed me with her candor in addressing family medicine as the medical specialty that deals most frequently with most of the skin diseases illustrated in this textbook.

This comprehensive little paperback is divided into 15 chapters. The first chapter, in which the elements of dermatologic history-taking and physical examination are described, would be valuable to medical students and residents. It is followed by a chapter that provides the most up-to-date description of the essential biology of the skin that I have ever come across. It includes current research findings on the immunological aspects of the skin and their relationship to disease.

The subsequent 13 chapters are logically organized into major disease groups according to both morphology and location of the affected area of the body. Each disease is discussed succinctly, including definition, incidence, etiology, pathology, "clinical features," differential diagnosis, and therapy. The color photographs provided are of good quality.

Included in each chapter are educational "growth points," (a shaded box containing lively discussion on areas of new advancement in the field). Key points and clinical "pearls" are emphasized by shaded boxes and have been strategically inserted in the middle or at the end of certain topics. Multiple tables summarize and compare important discussion points and drugs. Each chapter concludes with a list of three to five bibliographical sources for the most current "further reading" on the topic.

At the end of the book, there are two appendices: the first is a useful brief description of topical therapy; the second is a glossary and index of the dermatologic, clinical, and histologic terms used in the book.

I must warn North Americans that this book may be difficult to read for those not familiar with certain British spellings (ie, oedema for edema, candidosis for candidiasis) and expressions ("plane warts" vs "flat warts," "molluscum fibrosum" vs "neurofibroma" of von Recklinhausen's disease). Furthermore, the brand names of drugs discussed may not be familiar. The author may have overcome this shortcoming, however, by providing generic drug names as well.

Some areas of dermatologic treatment are lagging behind. For example, the use of certain drugs such as topical metronidazole (Metrogel) for treating rosacea is not mentioned. Personally, I do not see this as a defect, because a book such as this should emphasize diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is made, the physician can always look up the treatment elsewhere.

In conclusion, I recommend this third edition of a book that has stood the test of time. I would recommend it as a reference for practioners and as a supplemental resource for medical students and residents in primary care.

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Author:Kabongo, Martin L.
Publication:Journal of Family Practice
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1992
Words:482
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