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Acid Related Diseases: Biology and Treatment

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I M Modlin, G Sachs. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2004, pp 522. ISBN 0 7817 4123 8

This textbook by Irvin Modlin and George Sacks is a welcome addition to the increasingly important and dynamic field of gastric acid and related disorders. It is very well laid out and provides quite a comprehensive understanding of this field. Compared with the first edition, this second edition has a few additional sections, such as reports of studies from knockout and transgenic animals, which help keep the reader up to date.

It concentrates on cellular events with great focus, and at the same time provides a very enlightening and broad historical prospective, although in the case of the latter there is a touch of overdose at times. I found the chapters on biology and pharmacology particularly interesting. This acted as a useful exercise in revision and brought back memories (mostly pleasant) from my medical student days.

Each chapter is not separately referenced although at the end of each chapter the authors do provide a list of suggested reading for further introduction to the scientific literature.

The information is generally presented in a refreshing and amicable style. I think the book is friendly enough to be of benefit to an average student, but at the same time it caters adequately for the more seasoned learner too. It features some beautiful pictures and drawings depicting many individuals who have contributed to this field over the last hundred or so years. I thought the cartoons in the chapter on Helicobacter pylori were particularly pleasing and informative.

I particularly liked the background to the development of the first proton pump inhibitor (PPI). This I thought was thoroughly stimulating and will no doubt enable me to create a greater impression in front of the next PPI rep that I meet. The chapter on peptic ulcer disease is by and large par for the course, but the section on Barrett’s oesophagus presents a very logical and sensible approach towards tackling an area which remains controversial.

As a matter of personal taste, I would like to have seen a few key messages or take home points at the end of each chapter. These can also act as a quick source of reference for those who find that spare time is generally an elusive commodity, which, I suspect, is nearly all of us.

All in all, it is a timely and a creditable addition covering a very important and rapidly evolving field of gastroenterology and the authors ought to be congratulated for their efforts. Would I buy it? Probably yes, but only if I did not have a copy of the first edition. I would certainly recommend it as a departmental book as, among its many virtues, it provides useful titbits to amuse the audience during presentations.

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