Physician's Bookshelf

Am Fam Physician. 1999 Mar 1;59(5):1335-1339.

Book Reviews

Adolescent Medicine: A Practical Guide

By Victor C. Strasburger and Robert T. Brown. Pp. 514. Price, $59.95. 2d ed. Lippincott-Raven, 12105 Insurance Way, Hagerstown, MD 21740–5181, 1998.

Adolescent Medicine: A Practical Guide, second edition, states that its purpose is to fill the niche of a “small, concise, and highly informative book about adolescents and their health problems.” The textbook is for pediatricians and family physicians to use for practical information about common medical, physical and psychosocial problems in adolescents. Generally, the authors succeed in that task. As in most adolescent text and reference books, the initial chapters address basic physical and psychosocial adolescent development. The text progresses to address the common medical problems of adolescents and issues of chronic illness and disability; all of these topics are discussed in a concise and practical manner.

The book contains an appropriately extensive section on adolescent sexuality and health-related problems that addresses the role of the health professional; contraception and pregnancy; sexually transmitted diseases; issues for the male adolescent; and health care for gay, lesbian and bisexual youth. Alternative methods of working with these often challenging issues are also covered. The discussions of deficiencies of adolescent training in pediatric residency programs are an unnecessary diversion in this reference textbook, which is meant to be a practical guide for primary care physicians. The section on sports medicine and related injuries includes a review of relevant portions of the physical examination for participation in various sports. With the prevalence of sports-related injuries in adolescents, this topic is discussed in appropriate depth.

The section on practical adolescent psychology includes normal adolescence, violence, suicide, adolescent depression, out-of-control behavior, psychosomatic disorders, eating disorders and obesity. These topics are addressed in a comprehensive and thorough manner, and the role of the family physician is clearly identified. In contrast to most other portions of the book, these discussions contain case scenarios of various situations that are often helpful to practicing physicians. The chapters on substance abuse contain current and comprehensive data with helpful tables and questionnaires for family physicians. The text concludes with a current and concise section about legal issues, with helpful guidelines. In terms of organization, this chapter would be more appropriate in the earlier introductory sections of the textbook. With this exception, this text is well organized.

Most chapters approach issues from a holistic point of view and appreciation of working with the adolescent patient in the context of his or her family. Unfortunately, the book fails to include a chapter on prevention and health care maintenance. The text is written in a “consultative” style, which speaks directly to the reader. The font is small and the spacing between sections in the book is minimal, cutting down on its readability. Illustrations are all in black and white and sometimes are not printed clearly. On occasion, it is difficult to interpret figures. In contrast, there are good tables throughout the book. Each chapter has very extensive references and suggested reading lists. Annotated bibliographies are included with some sections.

Several excellent handbooks on adolescent medicine are now available for practicing physicians. Adolescent Medicine: A Practical Guide, second edition, by Victor C. Strasburger and Robert T. Brown, serves that function as well as other references currently available. It addresses the needs of the family physcian, it is current and it can serve as a practical guide for clinical work with adolescent patients.

Book Reviews

CRC Desk Reference for Nutrition

By Carolyn Berdanier. Pp. 358. Price, $59.95. CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd. NW, Boca Raton, FL 33431, 1998.

CRC Desk Reference for Nutrition is one in a series of reference textbooks on nutrition. Recognizing that most professionals consult a textbook to find specific information, the editor has organized this textbook as an encyclopedia to assist readers in finding the information they seek. Rather than having to peruse multiple sections of a textbook reviewing a list of pages identified in the index, this desk reference organizes all entries alphabetically, allowing the reader to rapidly locate specific information.

The author states that this is a book of terms and their definitions. The intended audience is physicians, nurses and other health care professionals and students who require rapid access to definitions of nutritional and medical terms. The information presented is concise, well organized and easy to read. Liberal use of tables and some figures also help the reader rapidly access the information presented. My question is, how often does one feel the need to refer to a dictionary of nutrition?

Most words are simply defined within a few lines of text. Others, like eicosanoids or protein evaluation, are discussed in depth with many pages of text and tables or illustrations. Depending on the reader's goals, there may be more or less than one wishes to know about a given subject. Clinically relevant information, such as drugs that may affect eicosanoid metabolism, is missing.

The value of this reference book depends on the user's need for information presented in this format. The lack of references makes fact-checking and evaluating the accuracy of the information difficult. Most definitions conform to my expectations. The brief, rather than comprehensive, tables on medicinal herbs and poisonous plants that the book contains are interesting and potentially useful. The definition of ejection fraction provides a normal value of 70. When I remembered a range of normal, 70 seemed high. In an effort to check this fact, I spent 40 minutes waiting for my consulting cardiologist to call while I looked through two primary care medical texts. One was a text on family medicine, and the other was a medical dictionary, all without finding what a normal ejection fraction is. It is possible that all of these sources had the information, but it was not easy to find.

The lack of references for the information presented is a problem. But how many dictionaries and encyclopedias include this information? A reading list for more information on specific nutrition topics would be helpful for guiding students whose needs may not be fulfilled by the information presented. In sum, this is a well-written textbook that accomplishes its stated goal: to improve access to a significant amount of information. While most primary care physicians will not feel the lack of this kind of textbook in their library, I will turn to it first in the future when I need to quickly find a definition.

Also Received

Best Practices in Medical Management

Edited by Peter R. Kongstredt and David W. Plocher. Pp. 675. Price, $79.00. Aspen Publishers, 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., Ste. 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, 1998.

Breast Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing (CD-ROM)

Edited by Michael Green and Norman Frost. Price, $22.00. Penn State College of Medicine, P.O. Box 850, Hershey, PA 17033, 1998.

The Breathing Disorders Sourcebook

By Francis V. Adams. Pp. 236. Price, $17.00. Lowell House, 2020 Ave. of the Stars, Ste. 300, Los Angeles, CA 90067, 1998.

Chemical Sensitivity: The Truth About Environmental Illness

By Stephen Barrett and Ronald Gots. Pp. 212. Price, $26.95. Prometheus Books, 59 John Glenn Dr., Amherst, NY 14228, 1998.

Clinical Essentials of Calcium and Skeletal Disorders

By Leonard Deftos. Pp. 314. Price, $19.95. Professional Communications, 400 Bay Center Dr., West Islip, NY 11795, 1998.

Close to Home (Video Series)

Directed by Bill Moyers. Price, $299.00. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543–2053.

Conquering Bladder and Prostate Problems: the Authoritative Guide for Men and Women

By Jerry G. Blaivas. Pp. 290. Price, $28.95. Plenum Press, 233 Spring St., New York, NY 10016, 1998.

Diagnostic Challenges: 150 Cases to Test Your Clinical Skills

By Marshall Goldberg. Pp. 250. Price, $28.00. Williams and Wilkins, 227 E. Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106, 1998.

The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs

By Jack M. Gorman. Pp. 392. Price, $6.99. St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010, 1998.

The Future of Complementary and Alternative Approaches (CAAs) in US Health Care

By Institute for Alternative Futures, 100 N. Pitt St., Ste. 235, Alexandria, VA 22314–3134, 1998.

Geriatrics at Your Fingertips

By David B. Reuben, George T. Grossberg, Lorraine C. Mion, James T. Pacala, Jane F. Potter and Todd P. Semla. Pp. 151. Price, $9.95. American Geriatrics Society, 770 Lexington Ave., Ste. 300, New York, NY 10021, 1998.

Menopause and Hormone Therapy: Effective Patient Care (CD-ROM)

By Isaac Schiff, Joe Vincent Meigs and Nancy Avis. Price, $175.00. SilverPlatter Education, 246 Walnut St., Ste. 302, Newton, MA 02160–1639, 1998.

The New Sjogren's Syndrome Handbook

Edited by Steven Carsons and Elaine K. Harris. Pp. 230. Price, $25.00. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016–4314, 1998.


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