Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics

Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics

658 Mayo Clin Proc, June 1991, Vol 66 BOOK REVIEWS pace. This essential publication belongs in the libraries of internists and residents in ambulat...

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Mayo Clin Proc, June 1991, Vol 66


pace. This essential publication belongs in the libraries of internists and residents in ambulatory-care clinics. David N. Mohr, M.D. Division of Area Medicine

Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics, edited by Richard E. Behrman and Robert Kliegman, 743 pp, with illus, $35.50, Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders Company, 1990 Education is not just the process whereby one accumulates facts. Understanding the application of acquired information is equally as important and is contingent on the organization, classification, and arrangement of facts in proper relationship to the topic being studied. Nelson Essentials ofPediatrics follows this guideline by introducing important pediatric problems and diseases in a readable, concise, well-edited, organized, and classified fashion; thus, basic facts are understood in relationship to clinical practice. The most striking aspect of this book is its practical presentation of material. Points of emphasis are appropriate, are presented logically, and are exactly what one needs for management in the clinical field. Titles and subtitles enable readers to find pertinent information quickly. A manageable reference list is presented after each section. The text is more than a manual, yet it can be read quickly and used as one. Because most discussions are truly limited to "essentials," assimilation of new material is easy. The useful charts, graphs, illustrations, and tables that are presented in each chapter add to the value of the book. As mentioned in the preface, some topics are covered only superficially-for example, the discussion on sudden infant death syndrome in the chapter on respiratory illnesses is too brief. I expected a more descriptive review of it in the chapter on neonatology, which, incidentally, is excellent. Developmental motor milestones are listed in only a facsimile of the Denver Developmental Screening Test chart, which is probably

not the most helpful for medical students. In addition, the text is not entirely free of typographic errors-for example, the instructive portion of the Denver Developmental Screening Test graph, which should be on the opposite page, appears out of sequence several pages later. Such errors, however, are rare. A positive aspect is that some chapters are more thorough than advertised, such as the one on cardiology. Books intended to be texts should be completely and accurately indexed. The index in this book is good but not perfect. The word "goiter" is referenced to a paragraph on iodine in the chapter on nutrition, but no page reference is provided for its excellent description in the chapter on pediatric endocrinology. Nelson Essentials ofPediatrics has generated considerable interest among physicians, residents (house officers), and students, as expected from a book with such an auspicious title. The text has potential to be a valuable aid to busy pediatricians. Mayo residents in pediatrics relate well to this book. Perhaps their preexistent knowledge enables them to become readily oriented to the succinct descriptions and tables. Medical students, however, are not as enthusiastic. For the past year, second-year Mayo medical students have been encouraged to use this text as one of their reference sources during their rotation in the Department of Pediatrics. For them, an encapsulation of such diverse clinical material without in-depth explanations may simply offer an exercise in memorization. Overall, I enjoyed reviewing Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. This text has many exceptional qualities and should easily find a niche in both academic and clinical fields. Roy F. House, Jr., M.D. Department of Pediatrics BOOKS RECEIVED Comprehensive Neurology, edited by Roger N. Rosenberg, 920 pp, with illus, $220, New York, Raven Press, 1991 Diagnosis ofHeart Disease, by Noble O. Fowler, 429 pp, with illus, $79, New York, Springer-Verlag, 1991