The World Book Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center Medical Encyclopedia: Your Guide to Good Health

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9780716642039: The World Book Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center Medical Encyclopedia: Your Guide to Good Health

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First published in 1980 as The World Book Illustrated Home Medical Encyclopedia, this medical reference for lay readers is now in its eighth edition. It offers basic information on health and diseases in accessible language. Many of the illustrations have been updated for this edition.

The 4,500 entries are arranged alphabetically in two columns. Varying in length from one sentence to three pages, they include definitions of specific terms, such as enzyme and epidemic, as well as coverage of more general topics, such as environment and health. A question/answer format is used to present much of the material on diseases and disorders. See and see also references facilitate access to related materials. There is also an index but no bibliography. The strength of this source is in its presentation of information on health and home care. The entries on home nursing, baby care, elder care, home safety, and hospitalization offer a great deal of useful, practical information. The entries on diseases and disorders do not have this depth.

Information provided in the appendixes includes a chart of related symptoms "to use when two or more symptoms are present," a "pictorial index of symptoms," and an "age-by-age" chart listing common disorders for different age groups. The related symptoms chart may cause anxiety and confusion because it offers lists of diseases with no indication of incidence, home treatment options, or when to consult a physician. The flow charts in The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine (Random, 1989) or The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide (3d ed., Random, 1994) do an outstanding job in this area. The pictorial symptom charts in World Book/Rush (small pictures of anatomical regions surrounded by lists of symptoms and their possible causes) are useless. The age-by-age charts make users feel that life may be a series of disasters. Although there is brief developmental information for each age group, the emphasis is on the diseases that one may contact. The appendix on health maintenance does provide useful material on nutrition and fitness.

Although World Book/Rush has some very good information, it is not the first choice for library reference collections. The Merck Manual of Medical Information Home Edition (Merck, 1997), Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide (3d ed., Crown, 1995), and The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book (2d ed., Morrow, 1996) do a better job of presenting a wide variety of medical information to lay readers.

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