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Pediatric Endocrinology: A Clinical Guide. 3rd Ed. Edited by Fima Lifshitz. (Pp 947; $195 hardback.) Marcel Dekker, 1996. ISBN 0-8247-9369-2.
The publication of another major textbook reflects the continuing growth of this evolving subspecialty. Endocrinological aspects are common in general paeditrics so this book will be welcome by a large number of doctors, both specialists and non-specialists. Nevertheless, Fima Lifshitz’s textbook, while providing excellent material, sometimes is too specialised for the general paediatrician. However, the needs of the paediatric endocrinologist in training, striving to keep pace with modern practice, are fully met.
Fima Lifschitz has assembled highly qualified contributions by a broad spectrum of experts from around the world. The book reflects the authors’ distinctive approaches, and like many multiauthor compendiums reads like a series of monographs, although in some cases authoritatively.
Nevertheless, it is not difficult to read large sections of the book as most chapters are concise, well organised, well referenced, and focused on practical problems. The structure of the book is indeed one of its major assets. Chapters are clustered in sections dealing with most of the main issues of paediatric endocrinology. Eleven chapters are added compared with the second edition, providing excellent updated material on the endocrinological aspects of HIV infection or endocrine tumours in children, among other topics which only reflect the changing approach of this paediatric subspecialty. Certain new additions, like chapters on metabolic bone disease in total parenteral nutrition, or paediatric magnesium disorders, which are not usually dealt with in such textbooks, are more than welcome. Basic coverage of molecular biology is given by most authors. Psychosocial and ethical aspects are dealt with. The scope of the book is indeed impressive, and with a strong clinical orientation it tends to provide practical information throughout. Nevertheless tables and figures are sometimes not as useful as one would expect, and in some cases it does not provide the necessary treatment and diagnostic algorithms for it to be a true clinical guide as the title suggests. A number of chapters are certainly first rate, and make it worth paying the price of the book. However, because of the large number of contributors, there are repetitions and inconsistencies both in form and style. However, the editor needs to be congratulated for offering such a useful tool for improving the understanding and management of such a rapidly changing subject.