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Pancreatic Disease Towards the Year 2000.

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Pancreatic Disease Towards the Year 2000. 2nd edn. Edited by Johnson CD, Imrie CW. (Pp 468; illustrated; £80.00.) Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1999. ISBN 1-85233-037-6.

This interesting book arises from a series of lectures held at a meeting in Glasgow. The editors have chosen a very ambitious title,Pancreatic Disease towards the Year 2000, which an impartial reader could interpret in two ways: either the book is a review of all pancreatic diseases or it throws light on the next century. Neither is the case. The editors of the book have not placed particular value on being comprehensive, but rather treat five areas emphasised at their meeting, all of which are of particular scientific interest at present—acute pancreatitis, transplantation, chronic pancreatitis, endocrine/exocrine interactions, and pancreatic cancer. There is a scientific focus and not merely a new rendering of current knowledge from A to Z. The list of participants, identical with the list of authors, contains more than 80 names well known in the pancreatic literature. They come mostly from the United Kingdom or Germany. All reported on their specialist areas, which means that we are presented with current knowledge on each of these topics. The topics covered in each of the five areas are well balanced and representative, and include basic and clinical science as well as laboratory and clinical studies. This is equally true for the clinical studies that cover conservative and surgical treatment studies. Certain topics continually reappear in the literature and others only seldomly, so that the reader is grateful for attention the book gives to the latter—for example, “Management of Costs of the Most Severe Acute Pancreatitis” and “The Burden of Acute Pancreatitis”, and in regard to pancreatitic cancers, “The Quality of Life Assessment”.

At whom is this book directed? It is not a series of recipes for diagnosis and treatment. It is, however, an excellent reference work for all non-pancreatologists who wish to inform themselves about individual pancreatic diseases, their particular problems, and the current status of knowledge. It is also a very good book for pancreatologists who are undertaking a study or have to write a review and need to take into account the latest literature (up to 1997). I have added this book to my collection without hesitation.