Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Post of August '09: New Edition of Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease released

The next in our series of "Best Posts of the Month" is from August 2, 2009:

A new edition of the canonical Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease appeared recently and is no doubt being widely purchased by second-year medical students throughout the country as they begin the academic year later this month. I emailed the authors of the neuropathology-related chapters and asked them what was new and improved about the 8th edition. First, Douglas C. Anthony, MD, PhD of the University of Missouri Pathology Department (pictured below), who co-authored the chapters on the peripheral and central nervous systems with Drs. Matthew Frosch and Umberto DiGirolomi, had the following to say about the the new edition:

"The neuro chapters were quite an undertaking, trying to incorporate all the progress in neurosciences without making the new edition so big that it's unattractive to medical students. We tried very hard to keep it near the same size, and use more illustrations to keep it concise. One thing that we did throughout the 8th edition is to reduce the discussions of normal histology (only placing some of it where it's necessary to understand the pathology). So normal nerve, muscle, and brain are all removed. That allowed us to introduce more on advances in molecular understanding of all the pathologic processes. We have done that throughout, but in some places removed the text to create [tables] or figures. For example, hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies are expanded as a table, and the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies as a figure with the myelin layers. For the limb-girdle muscular dystrophies, we listed all that were known at the time of press, and included others as separate hereditary myopathies. We included congophilic angiopathy with hemorrhages, and included a CADASIL figure, and expanded molecular classifications where they are pertinent to management, such as MGMT in glioblastomas and chromosome 1/19 in oligos. Where there was just too much to include in an introductory pathology text, we referenced more detailed papers or major texts, to send the interested student to those."

Next, I contacted
Robert Folberg, MD (pictured below), ophthalmic pathologist and dean of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Michigan, for his take on the chapter he authored on the eye. His statement follows:

"The major revision [in the eye chapter] was the jump between the 6th and 7th edition. The chapter was revised completely during the 6-7 edition transition. The current chapter is a bit shorter - as are most chapters in the book - and the references and some concepts have been updated. There are no 'earth-shattering' changes between [the 7th and 8th editions]."

There you have it. I am sure I can speak for all of the readers of this new edition, both students and faculty alike, in expressing my appreciation for the countless hours of work that went into creating this text. I look forward to diving into it as the new academic year begins!

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