Daria Pašalić
Department of Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry
Zagreb University School of Medicine
Šalata ul 2.
10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone +385 (1) 4590 205; +385 (1) 4566 940
E-mail: dariapasalic [at] gmail [dot] com

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Book review


Clinical Chemistry
A Laboratory Perspective
Wendy Arneson, Jean Brickell
F.A. DavisCompany, Philadelphia, 2007.
Dunja Rogić

Clinical Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics, Clinical Hospital Center Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

This textbook is, according to authors’ words, intended primarily for students of clinical laboratory studies. In other words, it is intended for all those who will work during professional career in laboratories, without being too much in contact with a clinic or patients. The textbook is written simply, clearly, with abundance of examples and case reports. However, it is exactly this marked simplicity of text and problem presentation that is the major shortcoming of the book - it leaves an impression of superficiality and unsatisfactory level of elucidation of certain issues, or sections. This by no means implies that it is a poor quality textbook, but it rather seems to be intended for students of professional studies rather than of medical biochemistry or related studies. Still, a reader may greatly benefit from case reports that are best for easy learning and memorizing since the selected reports are higly typical and relatively simple and thus conducive to achievement of the desired educational goal. Also, all the concepts essential for a certain problem area are separately stated on pages and defined again, which facilitates learning and orientation in the text. Separately presented are also briefly described significant clinical correlations of individual test results, as well as possibilities for team approach to each problem area; this makes the textbook part of the current trend of laboratory medicine development that presumes close collaboration between a laboratory and a clinic. Equally important book category are short texts designated as “common sense approach” which emphasize possibilities of preanalytical errors or result interpretation with regard to clinical correlations.
The book is divided in 14 chapters that comprise all fundamental fields of medical biochemistry. After introductory section, a section on quality control, and a summary review of laboratory techniques and instruments, other sections address individual clinico-pathological entities like diabetes, renal function, liver diseases and cardiovascular or respiratory disorders. Nutrition and digestive function are dealt with in a separate section, as well as endocrine disorders and reproductive endocrinology and analyses performed in fetus. Final sections are dedicated to laboratory tests in malignant diseases and therapy drug monitoring and toxicology. Considering the importance and broad presence of molecular diagnosis in clinical laboratory today, the fact that there is no section addressing this type of analyses is somewhat surprising.
In conclusion, this is a correctly and simply written textbook which presupposes relatively modest reader’s foreknowledge and therefore explains basic notions without elaborating issues in individual fields of medical biochemistry. It may, therefore, be of use to a student of the final years of medical biochemistry study as one of the textbooks, but by no means the only one.