Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 15-July-2005, Vol 118 No 1218
Illustrated clinical anatomy
Peter Abrahams, John Craven, John Lumley. Published by Hodder Education, 2005. Contains 390 pages and over 900 illustrations. Price GBP 24.99
Anatomy is a vast and timeless subject. The length and detail of an anatomy book is determined by the authors with a target audience in mind. On the cover, it is stated that the book is ‘by clinicians for clinicians’. But, reading the Preface, it seems that this book is written primarily for medical students.
The British authors have followed the American Association of Clinical Anatomists’ core curriculum as a guide to what is ‘core’. Chapters for each anatomical region have sections of clinically relevant information highlighted neatly in blue. Reading through my own area of interest, I was disappointed to see the example of shoulder dislocation to be a backstroke swimmer colliding with the end of the pool—an uncommon cause. Perhaps the infamous O’Driscoll incident (British Lions rugby tour of New Zealand in 2005) will remind the authors of a more common mechanism.
The book is beautifully laid out, with clear illustrations. Some core information is well summarised in chart form—for example muscle attachments, innervations, and functions. The clinical sections provide the link between structure, function, and disease. In doing so, it fulfils the criteria for the modern style of anatomical teaching adopted by many medical schools. A Questions section would give the book a reassuringly complete feel for those studying for an undergraduate exam.
This book will not satisfy everyone. No anatomy text can. Even when the information provided is well structured and presented, the issue is what is left out. A text of less than 400 spaced-out pages obviously leaves out a lot of detail; for example, the nervous system is not included. Indeed, the debate on the detail required for undergraduates will continue, and is not the subject of this review.
I believe this is a good book, and if medical students knew everything in this book, their anatomy foundations would be sound.
Khalid D Mohammed
Senior Lecturer in Orthopaedic Surgery
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine
Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago
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