Dictionary of comparative pathology and experimental biology

Dictionary of comparative pathology and experimental biology

JOURNAL OF INVERTEBRATE PATHOLOGY 18, 165-166 (1971) BOOK Dictionary Experimental AND of ISABEL Philadelphia. U. S.; $14.45, Comparative Biol...

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165-166 (1971)

BOOK Dictionary Experimental AND



Philadelphia. U. S.; $14.45,

Comparative Biology.

Pathology and W. LEADER LEADER, W. B. Saunders Co., 1971. vii + 238 pp. Price $14.00, Canada; 55.95, U.K. ROBERT

Although veterinary and medical pathologists have developed a well-established vocabulary over the years and their language has been adequately cataloged in veterinary and medical dictionaries, invertebrate pathologists are aware that there is a large number of terms used in vertebrate pathology which are not applicable to invertebrate diseases. However, no definitive dictionary of invertebrate pathological terms is yet available, although Sbeinhaus and Martignoni have provided an abridged glossary, first published in 1967 and recently revised in 1971. To partially fill this void, the Leaders have compiled a dictionary of “comparative pathology and experimental biology,” and although it is always difficult to evaluate the worth of such a volume until it hzs been subjected to considerable use, this reviewer’s first impression is most favorable. Philosophically, I am impressed and agree with t,he authors’ concept that pathology, at least certain aspects of the general discipline, overlaps with what has been traditionally considered as experimental biology. The sharing of a common language, as revealed by this dictionary, certainly strengthens the bond. We may query that since experimental biology is offered widely in undergraduate and academic graduate programs in our colleges and universities, why isn’t comparative pathology? As reflected on the pages of this volume, it is inevitable that this will occur and I have learned recently of at least one California college which will be offering a comparative pathobiology course at the undergraduate level in the near future. Although this dictionary is small, it includes a wealth of information, commencing with the definition of an “aardvark” and ending with that of “zymurgy.” It is somewhat unique among dictionaries in that the user is directed to a number of references, 165 to be exact, listed at the end. These are almost exclusively standard references and textbooks. As stated by the authors, as the result of the influence of Mauro Martignoni and the late Edward Steinhaus, a number of terms pertaining to invertebrate diseases, especially

REVIEW those of insects, are included. Inspite of this commendable attempt, the listing of the vocabulary of Invertebrate Pathology is rather sketchy. When one hears of occasions when some filibustering legislator reads from a dictionary, one’s first reaction is generally one of amazement and cynical disbelief. Yet, this reviewer found himself thumbing through the pages of this dictionary looking up words. Occasionally I stopped and pondered about a specific listing. As examples, I wondered if “atrophy” is always “a defect or failure of nutrition (italics mine) manifested as a wasting away . . . “; why “leukocyte,” a major defense mechanism in most animals, is not listed but “leukosis ” “leukemia,” and other derivatives are; and why’accidental human infections by the trematode Philophthalrnus are considered a “serious” disease while swimmer’s itch is considered a “mild” one. Also, I wonder why the authors have listed 12 professional and/or honorary societies, including the Society for the Study of Evolution and the Society of the Sigma Xi, but none of the societies more specifically oriented towards pathobiology are given. One may also question why “Janus green B” is only “used for counting bacterial colonies and staining oocysts of coccidia and, in combination with neutral red, for supravital staining of blood.” Since the dictionary is also intended for experimental biology, it should have been pointed out that this stain, in appropriate dilutions, is commonly used to demonstrate mitochondria. To the modern invertebrate zoologist it may be somewhat puzzling that “bryozoan” is described as “any member of the phylum Bryozoa. . . . ” Apparently the authors either reject or are unaware of the Entoprocta-Ectoprocta system. Since neoplasms comprise one focal point of interest for pathobiologists, it is a little disappointing that invertebrate neoplasms, at least the better known ones, are not included, but then, this is most probably due to the uncertainty of the art among invertebrate pathologists. I am enchanted with this dictionary. I think everyone interested in comparative pathology and experimental biology should have a copy. If properly used, it could save editors from many headaches. I am particularly pleased with the ecumenical spirit manifested. The authors recognize “comparative pathology” as encompassing more than veterinary and medical pathology. As 165



an example, they define “zoonosis” as “an infection or infestation shared in nature by man and anoman (animals other than man, the authors’ acronym).” This reviewer has always considered schistosomiasis, malaria, and arbovirus infections as eoonotic diseases. I must end on a sentimental note. It is of interest to all invertebrate pathologists to note that the Leaders, in their Preface, state that: “The


late Dr. Steinhaus . . . spent his career proselytizing the scientific community to the cause of invertebrate pathology. Perhaps we can help his cause creep a small distance further forward.” It is my impression that indeed they have. THOMAS C. CHENG Institute for Pathobiology Lehigh University Bethlehem, Pennsylvania