Illustrated textbook of clinical chemistry

Illustrated textbook of clinical chemistry

108 The book is very well produced and has been brought out fairly quickly after the conference. However, I consider that it is unduly expensive (f12...

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108

The book is very well produced and has been brought out fairly quickly after the conference. However, I consider that it is unduly expensive (f125.50, SWFr 276.00).

A.F. Smith, Clinical Chemist, Royal Infirrnaty, Edinburgh, UK

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Illustrated Textbook of Clinical Chemistry William J. Marshall Gower Medical Publishing, London, 1988, 318 pp., 212.00 Dr. Marshall who is Senior Lecturer in Chemical Pathology at King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry and an experienced teacher has written this new textbook of chemical pathology primarily for undergraduate medical students who are preparing for their final qualifying examination. Discussion of analytical methodology is therefore omitted but the text is notably clinically orientated and uniquely includes many illustrative case histories. The book very adequately covers the essentials of chemical pathology in 24 chapters. Disorders of homeostasis of water, sodium, potassium, hydrogen ion, glucose, calcium, phosphate, magnesium, and iron are comprehensively dealt with, as are biochemical abnormalities resulting from malfunction of the kidney, liver, gastrointestinal tract and endocrine glands. Other chapters are devoted to the plasma proteins, lipids, clinical enzymology, urate metabolism, the use and interpretation of biochemical tests, inherited metabolic diseases, metabolic aspects of malignant disease, therapeutic drug monitoring and toxicology, and clinical chemistry at the extremes of age. Where appropriate relevant biochemical and physiological knowledge is first succinctly described to provide the background necessary to the understanding of pathological derangements. The use, interpretation and value of biochemical tests are then critically discussed in the context of the presentation, differential diagnosis, investigation and management of clinical disorders. Brief case histories, with explanatory commentaries relating the biochemical findings to the clinical data, complete the transition from theory to practice. Each chapter concludes with a summary and recommendations for further reading; the latter comprise between one and four authorative references to review articles or books. The text is very readable and error free, the print eminently legible and the layout most attractive with the tables, diagrams and case histories highlighted in pastel colours. The tables and simple line diagrams are exceptionally clear and together with the case histories and chapter summaries provide an excellent aid for the student undertaking revision. There are two indexes, a general subject index and another to topics discusses in the case histories. Both the author and publisher deserve praise for the standard of presentation achieved. The quality of the publication complements the excellence of its contents, and the paper and typography are most pleasing and the paper-back binding very serviceable. At 532 this book must be regarded as very good value. This book can be highly recommended to clinical medical students who will particularly appreciate its 79 case histories which so aptly bring out the relevance of chemical pathology to clinical care and the importance of interpreting results in the light of clinical findings. They should buy a copy as they will continue to refer to it when they become housemen. It could be read with profit also by those preparing for any higher qualification where a good background knowledge of chemical pathology is required and a copy should readily be available in the main library as well as in the chemical pathology laboratory.

109 There are now several excellent and up-to-date British textbooks of chemical pathology from which to choose but I shall be surprised if this one does not achieve popularity and become a best seller. If certainly deserves to do so. F.V. Flynn Professor of Chemical Pathology, Universiry College Hospital, London, UK

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The Chemistry and Biology of Benz[a]anthracenes M.S. Newman, B. Tiemey and S. Veeraraghavan Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 1988,228 pp., ISBN 0 521 305446, f35.00 Cancer epidemiology worldwide points to environmental and dietary factors being responsible for a proportion of all human cancer. Following the establishment of the structure of sterols in 1930, and the isolation of benzo[ alpyrene from coal tar in 1933, the subsequent fifty years has witnessed intense research into the carcinogenic activity of all polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The corollary that breaking metabolic pathways by means of chemical intermediates might lead to tumour regression has been a second objective within the clinical medicine field. The Cambridge Monographs fulfil these aims by reviewing recent concepts and latest advances in the chemistry and biology of these carcinogens. The first volume published in 1987 covered the chemistry, biology, analyses and occurrence of benzo(a]pyrene. The second volume in the series also published in 1987 reviewed the occurrence, syntheses, physical and chemical properties and biological effect of the cyclo[ a]phenanthrenes - the polycyclic aromatic compound structurally related to the steroids. This third volume published in June, 1988 describes the chemistry and biological effects of the benz[ a]anthracenes and its derivatives. Volume 3 of the Monograph series is divided into two parts. Part 1 details the syntheses of the [email protected]]anthracenes (BA). For readers working in this field there is a comprehensive survey of the synthetic routes to BA from benzenes, nephalens, anthracenes, phenanthrene (D ring) and the older routes (rings B and C). There are 22 Tables completing Part 1 with detailed References numbering 372 relating to the syntheses of BA and its methyl, alkyl, aryl, chloro, bromo, fluoro, methoxy, hydroxy, amino, cyan0 and lactone derivatives. This immense task has been condensed into 81 pages and will serve as an excellent introduction and Reference source for all University, Government and industrial laboratories concerned with BA and its compounds. In Part 2 the biological properties of BA and its substituted derivatives are discussed. Because these compounds occur in the environment derived from the combustion of organic matter (coal, tobacco, etc.), they have been the subject of intense research activity. The second part is divided into four sections metabolism, interaction with cellular macro-molecules, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. The author emphasises the complexity of cancer induction and the number of variables involved such as the dose, species, age, sex, mode of administration, duration of exposure and adequate statistical analyses. There is an excellent summary of the highly carcinogenic methyl substituted BA’s (7-MBA and 7,12-DMBA) with published data up to the end of 1986. There is a fascinating section on mammary cancer rapidly induced by 7,12 dimethyl BA and dependent on hormonal status as well as age, strain, and pregnancy. This volume rightly emphasises the remarkable series of experiments continued throughout the 1980’s which demonstrated the role of the metabolite BA 3,4-dihydrodiol, precursor to the bay region diol epoxide, as the ultimate carcinogenic metabohte. The section on DNA, RNA and protein interaction focuses attention on the significance of these intermediate metabolites for example 3,4-diol 1, 2 epoxide with tumoutigenicity lo- to 40-fold more than the parent hydrocarbon. The author has succeeded in condensing salient features of this complex problem by means of a concise, coherent and systematic approach. His style, as one would expect in this monograph series, is clear and precise. My one serious reservation concerns the environment. The preface tell us that BA is present in air, water and soil, There