The clinical applications of antibiotics: Penicillin

The clinical applications of antibiotics: Penicillin

224 BOOK REVIEWS mitosis and of modifications of mitosis conclude the chapter on “Cells in Division.” C. Waymouth has contributed with an authorita...

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224

BOOK

REVIEWS

mitosis and of modifications of mitosis conclude the chapter on “Cells in Division.” C. Waymouth has contributed with an authoritative discussion of the nature of the stimulus to mitosis. The main author deals with the rapidly growing subject of inhibition of mitosis. In a concluding outlook he points to the still unsat,isfactory state of our knowledge of the mitotic cycle and the necessity of developing new techniques. One finds also a note of caution against tendencies of premature generalizations of results obtained in studies of only one kind of material. In a book embracing such a vast literature as the present one some smaller inadequacies are unavoidable. Herlant’s studies on the plasmolysis (cf. p. 135) of sea urchin eggs are still regarded as valuable but give hardly any information about permeability. Stewart and Jacobs have not studied the permeability of ethylene glycol by observing “the extent to which the eggs in each batch continued development” (p. 135). They used a more direct method which allowed the calculation of a permeability constant. Should not such a vague expression as “degree of nucleination” of the chromosomes (p. 118) be avoided? One must really be grateful to the author for the informative and stimulating way in which he has condensed a very vast subject in the present book. JOHNRUNNSTR~M,Stockholm, Sweden The Clinical Applications of Antibiotics: Penicillin. By M. E. FLOREY,M. D. The Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 1952. 730 pp. Price $17.59. This, the third volume in the series on antibiotics, was written by the first physician to use penicillin as a therapeutic agent. “A volume is devoted to penicillin, not merely because this antibiotic has particular historical interest as the first to be shown to be a systemic chemotherapeutic agent, but because the lines on which its effects in man were explored have been a guide to the investigation of the antibiotics subsequently introduced into medicine. . . . An attempt has been made, where the available data allow, to compare the general picture and prognosis in any given disease before and after the introduction of penicillin. To avoid duplication comparisons of the effects of different chemotherapeutic drugs, or of combinations of drugs, are mentioned with the antibiotic most lately introduced into medicine. . . . The literature on antibiotics is now so great that no one person can hope to read it all critically, nor is it claimed that the references are fully comprehensive. Every effort has been made to include all the early work, and there are references to most publications on penicillin up to the end of 1949. . . . Care has been taken to mention in the text any paper in which a well-based conclusion has run counter to the findings of the majority of writers. . . .” The book is divided into three general sections with a total of 22 chapters. The first section of “General Considerations” is composed of the three chapters: Properties of Clinical Importance and General Consideration of Results; Conditions Complicating Treatment; and Administration. The second section, “The Treatment of Diseases Due to Specific Organisms,” consists of the five chapters: Gonorrhoea, Chancroid, Granuloma Inguinale, and Lymphogranuloma Venereum; Syphilis; Haemolytic Streptococcal (Group A) Infections and Conditions Com-

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225

monly Associated with Them; Infections Due to Other Organisms of Varying Susceptibility; and Tropical and Rarer Non-Bacterial Infections. The last part, “The Treatment of Diseases Considered by Systems,” contains t.he 14 chapters: Endocarditis and Infections of the Arteries; Soft Tissue Infections, Burns, and Infections of the Hands; Infections of Bones and Joints; Infections of t,he Central Nervous System; Infections Within the Thorax; Ot,olaryngological Infect,ions and Oral Sepsis; Infections of the Eye; Diseases of the Skin; Infections of the Genito-Urinary Tract; Infections Within the Abdomen; Obstetric Infections in Infancy; Conditions ilssociated and Gynaecological Conditions; with Disturbances of the Blood; and Battle Casualties. A Bibliography of about 3600 references, a Subject Index, and an Author Index complete the work. Tbis book is much more than a collection of abstracts of the literature; there is intelligent interpretation of the work of others and an expression of opinion. It is recommended highly to all who have an interest in the medical application of antibiotics. Several of the illustrations remind us that penicillin is one of the modern things that decreases the glamor of life in the “good old days.” It, is unfortunate that the publisher spent two years in producing a book as import,ant as this one in so active a field of medicine. F. W. KAVANAGH, Terre Haute, Indiana Lehrbuch

Physiologie

der PlIanzenphysiologie. Erster Band, Zweiter Teil. Biochemie und der sekundHren Pflanzenstoffe. By KARL PAECH, Professor an der

Universittit Tiibingen, Germany. Springer Verlag, Berlin, GGttingen, Heidelberg, 1950. x, + 268 pp. In a summary of the biochemistry and physiology of secondary plant substances the author has selected for discussion the following five groups: lower aliphatic acids, fats and oils, terpenes and related derivatives, nitrogen-free aromatics, and nitrogen-containing compounds related to amino acids. illthough the field of plant substances has been limited in this way, the weahh of chemical data available makes a survey in 200-300 pages rather fragmentary, and a careful selection of data is therefore required. The discussion of outmoded theories of formation or t)he function of certain substances in plants could well be shortened to make room for modern views on plant metabolism. Frequent, reference to the occurrence of substances in certain plant species seems warranted only when this is necessary in a discussion on distribution of the type of compound in the plant world. The diversified material makes the cooperation of several authors almost a necessit)y in order to arrive at a satisfactory condensed biochemical survey. This policy has not been followed, as shown by a critical examination of, for esample, pages 108 and 109. The eudalene type ring closure is presented as “unusual,” thus explaining the rare occurrence of selinene. Actually, this type of ring formation is represented by nearly half of the known structures in the sesquiterpene series, and is even more frequently found in the di- and triterpene series. The formula given for fl-cadinene represents, according to investigations by