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Chernick-Mellins: Basic Mechanisms of Pediatric Respiratory Disease, 2nd Edition FREE TO VIEW

Ronit Herzog; Carin Lamm
Chest. 2003;124(2):773. doi:10.1378/chest.124.2.773
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By Gabriel G. Haddad, Stern H. Abman, and Victor Chernick, eds. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker, 2002; 576 pp; $149

This work marks the second edition of the landmark textbook, first published in 1991, which bridged the learning gap between classic pathophysiology and breakthroughs in cellular and molecular biology. This new edition includes updated information on many of the important biomedical discoveries from the past decade in cellular and molecular biology and genomics that have significantly expanded our understanding of the basis for pediatric respiratory disease and enabled the development of new strategies for treatment and prevention.

The book is divided into four sections: (1) Genetic and Developmental Biology of the Respiratory System, (2) Structure-Function Relations of the Respiratory System during Development, (3) Developmental Physiology of the Respiratory System, and (4) Inflammation and Pulmonary Defense Mechanisms. Each section contains short chapters written by 64 expert scientists, all well recognized in their fields. Thirteen new chapters have been added to the original edition on topics such as developmental genetics, organogenesis, molecular aspects of tissue hypoxia, ciliogenesis, neurobiology of sleep, and physiology of cough.

Each contributor provides a comprehensive and detailed summary of normal physiology in his or her particular area. Complementing the foundation of basic science is a discussion of relevant syndromes and diseases. The text includes clear and fluent explanations with illustrative diagrams and appropriate electron micrographs. Each subject is covered in depth, developmental aspects are emphasized, and numerous references are provided. Both the experienced scientist and the clinician will find a smooth transition from one subject to another. An added bonus is a complementary copy of the entire book on a CD-ROM, including clear diagrams and pictures. We found this portable format to be easy to follow, particularly convenient, and eminently useful.

The editors achieve their goal of providing information about the fundamental systems underlying the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of lung disease in children. We particularly liked the chapter on airway secretions that included a discussion of the normal upper and lower respiratory tract secretory cells in the airway surface epithelium, the submucosal glands, and the two phases of airway surface fluid. The biochemistry and the triggers of hypersecretory states are explored with the help of secretory cell photomicrographs. This material is followed by a description of clinical diseases in which pathologic mucus hypersecretion exists, such as cystic fibrosis and asthma, and concludes with the rationale for current therapy as well as future directions for research.

The format of the chapters is not uniform, so that some chapters are lengthy and detailed, with substantial clinical correlation, whereas a few chapters (eg, Immunology and Cellular Defense Mechanisms in the Lung) are relatively short and might have included more with respect to relevant clinical details. Overall, however, this book sets forth the exciting new discoveries in research that can provide the reader a state-of-the-art understanding of pediatric respiratory disease.

Basic Mechanisms of Pediatric Respiratory Disease is a textbook that admirably integrates cutting-edge basic science with clinical medicine. We highly recommend this outstanding book for pediatric pulmonology clinicians and researchers interested in an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of pediatric respiratory disease. For fellows in training, it provides complementary material to the standard basic respiratory physiology books and could be included in the core curriculum for pediatric pulmonary training programs.




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