Frank Falkner and J. M. Tanner, editors HUMAN GROWTH VOL 2: POSTNATAL GROWTH New York: Plenum Press, 1978, 634 pp., $35.
This is the second of a three-part series, and follows Principles and Prenatal Growth, published earlier. The third volume in the trilogy will deal with neurobiology and nutrition.
Volume two is a compendium of normative data regarding the growth oí tissues (adipose, muscle, bone) and structures (especially skull, jaw, and teeth) at various ages.
Each contribution represents a "state of the art" review, with detailed bibliography, numerous tables, x-rays, equations, and related material. Etiology of low- birth- weight infants, some of their clinical problems, and their subsequent growth patterns are covered in the last two chapters.
Growth in the neonatal, infancy, childhood, and adolescent periods is considered. A discussion of anthropometric methods is the exclusive topic of one of the 19 chapters, and methodology is emphasized in most of the others.
One chapter is mainly of historic interest, and deals with secular growth changes - principally in Europe - over the past century. Another deals with the impact of an environmental factor - exercise - on growth. Negative and positive feedback mechanisms of the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadotropin unit in regulating the onset of puberty are reviewed.
The major attribute of this book is its high level of scholarship. Each chapter is detailed, some abundantly so. The references are numerous, pertinent, and current through t97576. As an almanac, or handbook, it will be a useful source of background information. Data abound regarding velocity of growth, body dimensions at various ages, serum hormonal levels, dental and bone development, body composition related to basal metabolic rate, and to various ages, genital growth and development, onset of menarche among others. Clinicians with special interests in obesity, adolescence, and perinatology, dentists and basic scientists, endocrinologists, and nutritionists will find the apropriate chapters helpful as a review of fundamental information.
This volume, however, does have several limitations. The ponderous style, with innumerable references inserted in the text, makes for difficulty in reading. The material on facial, dental, skull, and related development is given disproportionate space and will be of interest only to a limited authence; it might well have been presented in condensed form. Reorganization of the material to provide coherence, particularly for the material that could appear in chronologic sequence, would have been appreciated by this reviewer. A single section on methodology with appropriate cross-references would have been helpful, as would both clinical correlations and summary statements for each chapter.
This volume can be recommended for reference purposes as a sophisticated, highly specialized, basic text with the limitations cited. A second edition is planned that will, it is hoped, improve organization and presentation and thereby enhance its value for both the present and potentially expanded authence.