Lytt Gardner, editor ENDOCRINE AND GENETIC DISEASES OF CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE Philadelphia: W. B Saunders Company. Second Edition. 1975, 1404 pp., $62.50.
This textbook is a significant addition to the pediatric literature. In the first edition, the editor embarked on an ambitious project. He explained that "the coalescence of certain areas of endocrinology and cytogenetics has accentuated the need to integrate this knowledge." Dr. Gardner and his colleagues have now added luster to this text by creating a second edition containing 300 additional pages that describe advances and new insights, thus enhancing the original goal.
The first chapter of the book is an excellent introduction to the entire text. In fact, it is a self-contained treatise outlining normal and abnormal patterns of growth. With two such experts as Drs. James Tanner and Edna Sobel drawing upon their broad experience, the reader has available in concise form much of the background information needed to understand clinical growth problems.
The following six chapters cover in great detail standard endocrine subjects. Not standard but rather refreshing are the informative historical essays that precede the discussion of nearly every endocrine gland. Two particular essays, that of Dr. Gardner on cretinism and that of Dr. Walter Fleischman on the parathyroids, are outstanding. The embryology and physiology of each gland then follow, and each chapter is concluded with clinical discussions of the various endocrinopathies. These sections are just the right mixture of the theoretical and the practical. Together with the above-mentioned historical sketches, this material is a joy to read.
One could single out several important additions to the second edition within these chapters, but three in particular should be mentioned. The sections on deprivation dwarfism, the posterior pituitary, and ambiguous genitalia are clear examples of the incorporation of new knowledge and insights. More specifically, the section on abnormalities of sexual differentiation nicely illustrates the integration of advances in cytogenetics into clinical endocrinology.
The eighth and ninth chapters are in effect monographs on the latest advances in dermatoglyphics, cytogenetic techniques, and the various chromosomal abnormalities. Here, too, there is a fruitful union of the theoretical, the methodologic, and the clinical.
The second half of the book deals with a variety of subjects associated with endocrinology and genetics. If there is any criticism, it has to be directed towards some of these sections. In the preparation of future editions, the editor will have to be more selective lest the text become unwieldy. Cursory coverage of such topics as cystic fibrosis, bilirubin problems, and immune deficiency disorders is best left to textbooks specifically devoted to these subjects. On the other hand, the chapters detailing potassium problems, catecholamine disorders, and carbohydrate abnormalities are outstanding. Mention must also be made of a new chapter on prenatal diagnosis written by Dr. Michael Kaback. His discussion of a rapidly expanding field is up to date and authoritative.
Interspersed throughout the book are discussions of the psychologic aspects of the various clinical problems. Specific discussions of psychologic counseling for such disorders as hermaphroditism and aberrations in stature have been written by Dr. John Money. These sections, coupled with a superb chapter on genetic counseling written by Drs. Wood and Gardner, round out the book.
As a mulriauthored textbook, this volume is more even in style and coverage than usual. Most chapters are well organized and written in a readable fashion. This is a tribute to the skillful editing of Dr. Gardner. The book is a worthy successor to the illustrious "first" in this field, that written by the late Dr. Lawson Wilkens. It is only fitting that the tradition is being carried on by one of Dr. Wilkens' outstanding students.