WAO Medical Book Review
Allergy in Practice
Author: Johannes Ring
Editor: Marion Philipp
ISBN #: 978-3-540-00219-2
List price: $129.00 USD
Available from: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Ron Purcell, MD University of South Florida College of Medicine and James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA
Allergy in Practice is a concise yet remarkably thorough overview of allergic disease and provides the reader with a basic understanding of the physiology, diagnosis, and treatment of commonly encountered allergic conditions. This is an updated version of the 2nd edition printed in 1988 and reflects the many changes in the field over the past 20 years.
This book is written to provide the reader with a better understanding of the recognition and treatment of allergic diseases commonly encountered in the clinical setting. It does not cover immunodeficiency, rheumatology or other immunologic conditions except as they relate specifically to allergy.
Medical students, physicians in training, and other health care professionals looking for an introduction to the clinical practice of allergy will find this to be an excellent resource. It also serves well as a reference for health care professionals who want rapid access to clinically useful information regarding the field of allergy.
Without a doubt, the book's strong point is the author's exceptional ability to present information in a concise, straightforward manner. Despite being only 276 pages and measuring 25 X 17 cm, the book covers nearly every aspect of allergy in such a way that the reader can quickly grasp even difficult concepts. Each section is clearly delineated and rarely exceeds two pages; many are only one or two paragraphs. Despite this brevity, explanations are thorough and complete. The clinical sections are organized logically and make generous use of tables, so differential diagnosis, common physical findings, and other practical information can be quickly accessed. Extensive cross referencing of sections allows the reader to easily locate related concepts or conditions. Additional chapters covering allergen immunotherapy and diagnostic techniques, such as skin testing, provide insight into how these are accomplished by specialists trained in these procedures.
Anyone wishing to increase their understanding of the diagnosis and management of allergic disease in a concise, readable format will find this to be an excellent resource.
Salvador Gala, MB BS PhD
University of Sydney
Prof. Ring states his book evolved from a series of information leaflets and short chapters for residents rotating through his Allergy Division. Thus, the underlying theme reflecting a detailed but concise introduction to allergic disease is evident throughout Allergy in Practice. There are the standard chapters on allergic mechanisms, clinical evaluation, diagnostic tests and therapy. However, grouping of allergic disorders within the main body of the text is predominantly according to the Gell and Coombs classification, wherein clinical information appears within a scheme of pathophysiology. Nevertheless, this approach works quite well; the reviewer was easily able to navigate throughout the different subsections of the book when searching for specific pieces of information. As the sole author, Prof. Ring eschews those problems of excess, irrelevant detail and redundancy so commonly observed in multi-authored comprehensive texts.
Allergy in Practice provides the trainee and non-specialist reader with a detailed but concise introduction to the field of allergy. Prof. Ring covers all major subject areas relevant to the basic science and clinical management of allergic disease. It is, in essence, a textbook - but written in a user-friendly style.
Whilst easy to follow, Allergy in Practice is pitched at the specialist level. This book is, therefore, ideal as a study aid for allergy trainees and residents undertaking an allergy rotation and as a refresher for allergy specialists. Non-allergist physicians requiring specific information on allergic disorders will more readily find answers here, rather than trying to negotiate larger comprehensive allergy texts.
The positive qualities to Allergy in Practice are plentiful. Descriptions of individual allergic disorders are detailed but concise. Those aspects of basic science chosen for review are all clinically relevant. High-quality color photography is included throughout the book to demonstrate important clinical, radiological and histological points within the main text. Prof. Ring makes frequent use of schematic multi-color diagrams to convey important concepts without, however, becoming entrenched in overly complicated detail. Lists and tables accompanying the text are useful for clinical reference because they achieve a balance between sufficient detail and conciseness. References are very selective and included on the basis of clinical relevance.
Does the book have any drawbacks? Its advantages are at the same time its limitations. The reader will still need access to comprehensive textbooks and journals for details of rare conditions, in-depth reviews, and more up-to-date information. Inclusion of an Appendix serves to partly address these issues by directing the reader towards additional sources of information.
Prof. Ring's publication represents a clinically useful, high-quality 'entry-level' allergy textbook. As summarized by Prof. Platts-Mills in his foreword to Allergy in Practice, Prof. Ring provides a comprehensive but well planned description of allergic disorders "that are either very common or just common." Allergy in Practice is designed for use as an introductory textbook, to be studied cover-to-cover and complemented by reading of current literature.