Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine, 1st edition.
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Subject:||Books (Book reviews)|
|Publication:||Name: New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy Publisher: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2006 New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists ISSN: 0303-7193|
|Issue:||Date: Nov, 2006 Source Volume: 34 Source Issue: 3|
|Topic:||NamedWork: Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine, (1st ed) (Book)|
|Persons:||Reviewee: Segen, Joseph C.|
Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine, 1st edition. Author; Joseph
C. Segen, MD, Department of Histopathology, Chase Farm Hospital,
Enfield, United Kingdom. Year of Publication; 2006. Publisher;
McGraw-Hill, New York. ISBN; 0-8385-1535-5. Paperback, 765 pages.
Recommended Retail Price; $us29,95
In this part of the English-speaking world, we are often frustrated by the variants of spelling and grammar emanating from America. So it was with a sense of relief when I read the Introduction to this dictionary that I found this author admitting he had had a startling set of revelations on moving to work in England. Not only did he find the quality of medicine practised in the UK intimidating, but he also discovered that, as for most Americans, English was his second language (especially in the spoken form). His experience of the average Britisher's command of the language has lead him to take Mark Twain's advice: 'It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt'. However, that said, he is no lexicographical newcomer or incapable of excellent writing, having published a major medical dictionary in 1992 and has spent over 20 years in developing a comprehensive database of medical terms now numbering over 150,000.
The choice of a quote from Dr Samuel Johnson 'Dictionaries are like watches, the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true' to open the Introduction is most apt, given the rapid change in terminology with thousands of new terms being added over recent times representing the huge leaps in knowledge and technology (medical information has doubled every 7 - 10 years), and the retirement of many old terms. This dictionary tries to include as much of the current medical argot as possible within the restraints of its concise nature and the author makes no apology for including the 'real-world' usage of neologisms, jargon, acronyms and casual speech. It was a pleasure to see that my bete noire the absurd 'pathophysiology' has been omitted. Regrettably, he states that what he has learnt of British medical usage must await the next edition, so this edition has little to offer in translating the other prime source of these forms of medical language we encounter. It must be presumed that the American publishers insisted on Webster spellings and American usage for both space and US sales considerations; for instance, the electrocardiogram is always abbreviated EKG.
The breadth of coverage is extensive compared to the traditional medical dictionaries (e.g. MADD--Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), making it an often fascinating read. However, its restrictions prevent the inclusion of etymology and derivations which are usually found in comprehensive dictionaries and which enable deeper understanding of formal terms. Furthermore, there are none of the illustrations provided in many of the traditional volumes. But none of these count against the descriptions or definitions given which are most informative and explanatory. Most diseases are described using sub-headings such as etiology, clinical, management, treatment, prognosis, and prevention. The target readers for the book are students, junior practitioners and the lay public, and professionals, and it certainly achieves this last aim. This inexpensive text makes a useful addition to the work of Dorland, Black, or Stedman, and is a most useful reference text.
Ken McGrath, VRD, MSc(Hons), LIBiol, MNZIMLS, Senior Lecturer in Pathology, Schools of Physiotherapy and Podiatry, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|