Reviews for The Cornell illustrated encyclopedia of health : [the definitive home medical reference]

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Drawing on contributors who are all physicians, editor Gotto (dean, Weill Medical Coll., Cornell Univ.) presents a comprehensive encyclopedia of diseases, anatomical systems, drugs, procedures, and other health topics. Each of the 3600 entries starts with a one-sentence definition highlighted in blue, followed by a longer explanation. Although more concise and clearer to the nonclinical reader than those in a text such as Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, these definitions often seem unnecessarily obtuse for a title marketed to consumers. The text is written at about a 12th-grade reading level, again a bit high for this type of work. The plentiful illustrations are generally good but far too small to be of much use. An emergency and first-aid section at the back, identified by red page edges, is accurate but far too wordy for use during an actual emergency. In addition, it might have been more useful at the front of the book. Despite its shortcomings, this title definitely fills a niche. The encyclopedia format makes finding specific terms easier than in titles such as The Merck Manual of Medical Information Home Edition, The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, or The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, which are organized by body system; however, the encyclopedia format doesn't explain the greater context in which disease occurs. There are more than twice as many listings in this encyclopedia than in The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, but they are much briefer. Thus, this title complements but does not replace these popular consumer health references. Eric Weaver, Redwood Health Lib., Petaluma, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

General health guides abound. They may take different approaches to their subject, but the one thing they all have in common is size. Most are well over 1,000 pages and weigh as much as 10 pounds! This newest entry in the well-populated field of home health guides checks in at 1,312 pages. It covers 40 areas of medicine and 3,600 health issues and has 1,200 color illustrations. The alphabetical entries run from a paragraph to several pages in length. Entry headings appear in bold blue type followed by a brief (usually a sentence) definition. Below this the expanded explanation appears. Color-coded boxes cover such things as medical alerts, symptoms, and medical precautions. Resource boxes direct readers to relevant books, Web sites, and organizations; unfortunately, the print in these boxes is very small, giving the appearance of one reference when in fact there are usually several. Illustrations too are small and appear in the margins of the pages, precluding any detail. Entries are cross-referenced to articles that give anatomical or background information as well as related articles. Terms in the index are color coded for easy access to main entries. The encyclopedia covers terms related to physical and mental health. Some rare disorders and specialized areas of medicine (Aviation medicine) are included, as are organizations (AMA) and alternative medical therapies. Emergency medical procedures and first aid are covered in an extensive appendix. If the article on Parkinson's disease is an example, some entries may raise questions and concerns. The article erroneously states that hand tremor is the first sign of the disease and in discussing possible causes makes an overly generalized statement about use of recreational drugs such as ecstasy and marijuana. Both the Mayo Clinic Family Health Book (2d ed., Morrow, 1996) and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (HarperCollins, 1999) offer more in-depth coverage of medical topics. In addition they contain sections on medication and elder care as well as full-page medical illustrations. Either of these titles would better fill the need for a comprehensive consumer-health resource.