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Self Assessment Colour Review of Gastroenterology. Edited by A Forbes, NH Gilinsky (Pp 188; illustrated). UK: Manson Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1 874545 47 2.
Recertification or subspecialty exit examinations may trigger a proliferation of self assessment texts, although candidates for part 2 MRCP are currently this book's main market in the UK. On the whole it serves its purpose well and complements the similar sizedMCQs in Gastroenterology (Bateson and Stephen, 1996; Petroc Press).
The book presents almost 200 illustrated case histories, with questions and well informed answers from 28 gastroenterologists, half from the UK and half from the USA. This is good transatlantic collaboration. Cases cover the range of luminal gastroenterology (including biliary and pancreatic disease), from the common and uncomplicated to the obscure. They are interesting and informative. Some questions are insufficiently concise for MRCP although it is only fair to say that the authors do not set out to follow the format of this examination. Other questions ask the reader to match statements and data, which are good tests of knowledge, especially that of basic gastrointestinal physiology. Indeed, I would have liked to see more physiological questions at the expense of some “picture recognition” cases. This is because the photographic reproduction of some of the 350 or so images is very variable. Some endoscopic and radiographic images have not reproduced well or are too small to be interpretable. The variety of cases and illustrated answers are, however, stimulating.
Doctors taking MRCP may want to buy a copy although many topics are more appropriate for specialist trainees. Consultant gastroenterologists will find it an entertaining and instructive exercise to dip into the book but I suspect that this will be from the library shelf where it will be one of a series of self assessment titles.