Biochemistry for medical sciences

Biochemistry for medical sciences

121 with many simple line drawings and diagrams which are easy to follow and are useful ramm~'ies if sometimes ,,-satisfying in terms of detail or mec...

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121 with many simple line drawings and diagrams which are easy to follow and are useful ramm~'ies if sometimes ,,-satisfying in terms of detail or mechanism. Students will have to turn to the likes of Lchninger, Stryer, Metzler and the like for detail and il}nmination. The paperback edition at £6.95 is good value. Teachers who want to see students working at problems or understanding how she facts and concepts of our empiric science have arisen will have to supplement Professor Pasteruak's text with appropriate material Sincephysieian~and surgeons will alwaysbe facedwith the need to interpret evidence, it is important that their critical powers he challenged early and often. Textbooks cannot be exlag~ed to go far in this direction and Professor Pasteraak's effort is no exception. Problems and questions (in addition to references) at the end of chapters are always helpful if they are good ones, and one hopes that after the current volume has had its innings, a second edition may appear with some incisive challenges to more student participation. B Shaw

Departmentof Biochemistr,/ Universityof Leicester Leicester,UK

bulk of Chapter 12 is concerned with phsma proteins (the lipoprotdns are considered in Chapter 6), blood coagnhtion and immanoglobulins, but briefer descriptions of complement, kinins and enzymes in diagnosis are given. Chapter 14 describes mnsde contraction, neural tmmmisfion, connective tissue and the endocrine system. The content of she other chapters is well describedby their titles. Each chapter ends with a list of suggested readings (between three and twenty in number, average nine). Articles in Scientif,, American, Scienceand New EnglandJournal of Medicinecomprirejnst less than one-half of the total. I spotted one dated 1979, and about half a dozen dated 1978. There are no problems or questions for discussion. There are many crou-references in the text so that the pre~utation is well integrated. The units used are still, in the main, the familiar ones (rag/100 In], kilocalories, etc), though Po, and Pcoa are given in 'torr'. There are few errors in printing or in Index citations. I missed descriptions, or ref~ences to, the renin-angio-teminaldosterone system, hypoth,hmic retulatory peptides, oxytoein and vasopressin, endorphins, hormones of the gartro-intestinal tract, superoxide ion and superoxide dismutase, peroxisomes, the signal hypothesis, DNA repair mechanisms, disorders of the ornishine-urea cycle and collagen types. This does not detract from my over-all impression of

the book. Biochemistry

for Medical Sciences

by I Danishefsky. pp 629. Litde, Brown and Company, Boston, USA. 1980. $22.95 ISBN 0-316-17198-0 (c) The publication of a textbook with a title such as this one bears, .by a new author, is a matter for rejoicing amongst those whose duty it is to teach the subject from she point of view of human medicine. There is a marked difference between the needs of a student who learns biochemistry so as to understand the metabolic processes of microbes or plants and those of one who is interested in health and disease in the human organism. A lot of the material essential for she former is not relevant to the latter and vice versa. In recent months, one other author has entered this field (C A Pasternak, An Introdaclio, to Human Biochemistry, Oxford University Press, 1979) while another of long standing has appeared in a second edition (K W McGilvery, Biochemistry, a Fr~ctionel Approach, W B Saonders Company, 1979). It is clear that the distinction between students made above is widely appreciated and the special needs of human biochemistry are becoming well The writing of such a book requires a judicious blend of subject matter variously described as the domain of biochemistry, physiology, clinical pathology, and medicine. This book has achieved this blend and should appeal to many (students and instructors alike) whose interest is in what she author describes as 'core subject matter required for clinical medicine and for comprehension of the current literature'. The required background is the general knowledge of basic organic chemistry and biology which is usual amongst health sciences students in N Arnica, Britain, Europe, and many other parts of the world. The text is well written, in a style that is clear and direct, with student needs clearly in mind. Though the print and illustrations are only in black and white, the pages have a clear, inviting and unduttered lonl~about them. There are fifteen chapters with she foliowing headings: 1. Fundamentals (71 pp); 2. Characteristics and Functions of Enzymes 0 7 pp); 3. Catabolism of Triglyc~ides and the Citric Acid Cycle (52 pp); 4. Merabolitm of Carhohy~ates (54 pp); 5. Biosynthesis of Lipids (33 pp); 6. Tissue Disposition asid Transport of Carbohydrates and Lipids (43 pp); 7. Metabolism of Proteins and Amino Acids (33 pp); 8. Metabolim, of Specific ~,mi,~ Acids (42 pp); 9. Metabolism of Nncleotides (41 pp); 10. btetabolism of Porphyfins (8 pp); 11. Biosynthesis of Nucleic Acids and Proteins (52 pp); 12. Blood (30 pp); 13. respiration and Electrolyte Balance: Functions of the Lungs and Kidneys (31 pp); 14. Specialized Tissues: Their S t ~ s and Functions (33 pp); and 15. Nutrition (41 pp). There is a 24-page Index. 'The first chapter is the longest and introduces, in a general way, the chemistry of cellular components, membranes and transport, metabolism and intracelluhr compartments while the second is concerned with thermodyn2mlcs and principles of enzymatic catalysts. The next three chapters describe the interconversions of metabolites in di~=ete pathways, while Chapter 6 is concerned with metabolic transformations (and their regulation) as they occur in the whole organism and in individual organs or cell types. In Chapter 11, information on prokaryotic systems is included so as to 'provide hypotheses about what might occur in anirnl] organisms' and to emphasize diff~ences between proknryotic and eukaryotic systems. The


8(4) 1980

The author has met, admirably, his aim of presenting an introduction of those aspects of metabolism that are essential for the onderstanding of the causes and consequences of metabolic disorders. Without being encyclopaedic, he has thoroughly explored the major areas of metabolism. He has clearly highlighted a large enough number of disorders to show how simple disturbances of individual reactions or processes can produce the biochemical problems which form such a hrge section of modern clinical medicine. F Velh

Departmentof Biochemistr/ Universityof Sashatchewan Seskatoon, Canada

Basic Biochemistry by M E R.a(elson, J A Hayashi and A Bezkorovainy. Fourth Edition. pp 418. Macmillan Publishing Co, Inc, New York. 1980. /.8.75 (paperback) ISBN 0-02-397610-1 The first three editions of shis book were published in 1965, 1968 and 1971 respectively. Kafdson and Stephen B Binldey were the authors of the first two, while Hayashi participated in she writing of the third: In the present edition, Binldey has retired and has been reph_,a4_ by Bezkorovainy. Unchanged remains, however, the stated objective of the book as 'the introduction to she student in life sciences and allied disciplines' of 'the principles and viewpoints of binchemistry and a core of ¢mmtial facts, without presenting an overwhelming amount of factual material'. This book is organized into fourteen chapters. Kather terse descriptions of adds, bases, and buffers, and bio-energetics constitute the subject of the first two. The next nine cover the chemistry and metabolism of amino acids and proteins (Chapters 3, 4, 8, and 11, together accounting for over a third of the text), and the chemistry and metabolism of carbohydrates (Chapter 5), of lipids (Chapter 6), of nudeotides and nucleic adds (Chapters 9 and 10) and oxidative phosphorylation and deetrun transport (Chapter 7). Hormones, blood (including a 15-page description of the structure and properties of haemoglobin), and fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance in the human organism are the topics of the final three chapters. A considerable amount of material of clinical interest is included in several chapters. Though the 381 pages of text (the index takes up 33 pages) makes this a relatively small book, it contains a lot of binchemical information. This has been achieved in large part by the inclusion of many tables and metabolic pathways and by great concern for coverage of 'basic facts' rather than for explanation of underlying principles as exemplified by the sections on porphyrins, and biosynthesis of porine ribonudeotides. The quality of the writing varies from rather compact to chatty and occasionallydiffx,~, being mostly descriptive rather than explanatory. Each chapter ends with a summary and a brief listing of selected readings. A good background in ~ t r y and biology is presumed. It is, in fact, essential for a student to be able to make sense of some sections.