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The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Edition: The World's Most Widely Used Medical Reference - Now In Everyday Language Hardcover – April 29, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0911910353 ISBN-10: 0911910352 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Merck Manual Home Health Handbook
  • Hardcover: 1900 pages
  • Publisher: Merck; 2 edition (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911910352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911910353
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.9 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The second edition of this very valuable resource has all the attributes of the first. Written for the layperson, articles are clear, comprehensive and detailed. There are excellent charts and illustrations to further make the material more understandable. Almost every conceivable medical condition is covered, with additional chapters that highlight women's, men's and children's health issues; specific information is also provided on the aging body. According to the editors, the content has been expanded to cover medical treatments or advances that have occurred since 1997, when the first edition was published. The editors have included new drug options for HIV-positive patients, as well as a section on herbal supplements and their possible interactions with prescribed medications. Although the emphasis is on traditional medicine, there is an objective article on complementary and alternative medicine. Two appendices-"Drug Names: Generic and Trade" and "Resources for Help and Information"-will be particularly helpful to medical consumers. In addition, advice is given on preventative measures, such as the value of exercise and proper nutrition. An excellent resource for any home.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The Merck Manual, now in its seventeenth edition, has been a standard medical reference source for over 100 years. The first home edition, published in 1997 and translated into 12 languages, was a welcome addition to consumer health reference collections. Just as librarians begin to worry about its age, Merck has released a second home edition. The editors have completely revised and rewritten the manual, adding a great deal of new material in the process. All of the editors, contributors, and editorial board members are physicians or academics with doctorates.

The format of the book has not changed. A detailed table of contents lists 25 sections divided into chapters. The first, "Fundamentals," explains basic anatomy and physiology, the aging process, fitness, communicating with health professionals, and legal and ethical issues. The others cover specific organs, systems, diseases and disorders, drugs, and first aid. The sections dealing with organs and systems begin with the biology of the system and then explain the symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of diseases that may affect it. There are color diagrams of relevant anatomy as well as an eight-page insert of anatomical charts. This new edition has added material on violence against women, sexual dysfunction, chromosomal and genetic abnormalities in children, and travel health. The drug section now includes information about medicinal herbs and nutraceuticals and their interactions with other drugs. A new section called "Special Subjects" covers medical decision making, surgery, complementary and alternative medicine, amyloidosis, familial Mediterranean fever, and diseases of unknown origin. A series of appendixes contains information on weights and measures, common tests, generic and trade names of drugs, and resources for referrals.

Although it has fewer, less colorful illustrations than the American College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide (DK, 1999) and lacks the flow charts of The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide (Simon & Schuster, 1999), The Merck Manual of Medical Information continues to provide the most current, detailed medical information in a format and language that lay readers will understand at a reasonable price. Libraries owning the 1997 edition will want to update and the others will want to add this excellent resource to their consumer health reference collections. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book for every household.
Carolyn Galvin
The book is extremely well written with a very detailed index that makes it easy to find information on specific topic.
Dan Sherman
Sometimes you are surprised how you miss a book that's been around for a century!
Ganapathy Subramaniam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Dan Sherman VINE VOICE on June 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent guide to health and wellness written for lay people and quite comprehensive in its coverage. This second edition (first comes from 1997) adds about adds 35 chapters and 400 pages to the first edition, with updates throughout the book (e.g., on various drug therapies). It is very well-organized, primarily as 300 plus chpaters written around body systems (e.g.. digestive disorders) or topical areas (children's health, preventative medicine). The book has many short sub-sections within chapters (typically 5 to 10 pages) that cover specific topics (skin cancer, glaucoma, family planning) that can readily be found in the table of contents. The book is extremely well written with a very detailed index that makes it easy to find information on specific topic. One nice feature of this book is that it is printed to be about the size of a college dictionary (though with larger print than most dictionaries). It also includes an excellent appendix listing other resources for information by topic, with organizations listed out with their mail addresses and web sites.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By roeslan1969 on December 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Compared to other medical references available in the market such as American Medical Assoc, Harvard's, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic or British Medical Assoc medical / family health guides, etc. the Merck's Manual is definitely the best and the most complete & informative. With contributions from around 300 medical experts, no other guide comes close to it in terms of quality, readibility and relevance. However, this 1940-page awesome piece of work can yet be further improved. That's why I'm not giving it a full 5-STAR rating.

One feature that can be added to this Medical Manual are a series of FLOW CHARTS with cross-referencing for the readers to "diagnose" their symptoms, complications etc. Doesn't have to be too many - probably around 100 symptom charts would do. These decision diagrams would be quicker and easier to use than the Index. The ones found in British MA Family Doctor Home Advisor and Harvard's Family Health Guide are very good examples.

Secondly, the editors should use the METRIC SYSTEM for measurement units e.g. temperature in Celsius (with Fahrenheit in brackets), weight in kilograms, metres (or centimetres) for height, etc. so that everybody around the world can enjoy reading those knowledge-packed pages without having to convert and carry a calculator every time.

Thirdly, some COLOUR CODINGS (or thumb index) should be helpful for easier referencing since the book contains over 300 chapters. At least, we don't have to refer to the Appendix or Content Page too often. If colour codings are too expensive, shades of grey, light red (as in the diagrams) etc. should still be acceptable.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. Lindner on February 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a comprehensive book, detailing nearly every type of ailment known to mankind. Those who judge just one small portion of it (who may or may not have medical degrees to support their opinions) do the work an injustice by focusing on the narrow instead of the entire range of the book.
This book is full of detail that the average person can comprehend. At times the book does seem a bit rigid in that certain ailments can only occur in specific parts of the body. Case in point, my wife was diagnosed with a ganglion cyst on her ankle, an uncommon location, but according to the book, such cysts are limited to the wrist.
But this does not detract from the overall usefullness of this book as a standard reference. Of course, no book should be the sole source of medical evaluation and doctors must be consulted as the needs arise.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This reference book is easy to use and understand. When I first leaned of this home edition version of the Merck manual I was hesitant. Over the years many books have been published that are medical in nature, some published by doctors, but the content is watered down or so vague that a layperson doesn't derive much information from it. Some books are actually condescending in attitude, some patronizing. So many books briefly skim symptoms and then caution to call a physician for more information.

My son was diagnosed on the phone by our pediatrician with chicken pox and it was made clear that they did not want to see him for a physical exam. I was given a tiny bit of information by the office staff but was still curious for more information. I spent over an hour surfing the Internet looking for information but found watered down information, repeated many times over on multiple websites, including some written by physicians intended for laypeople to use. I looked at my parenting books written by doctors (one titled "The Portable Pediatrician") and was still lacking any substantial information.

But when I consulted the Merck Manual home edition, (which I had forgotten I bought recently and had not yet used), I was surprised at the level of information given. There are many details that I had not found elsewhere, such as number of days from exposure to outbreak, how long it takes the pox to change from first appearance to crusted over, about how long the infection lasts, and treatment suggestions. Reasons why some children have a mild outbreak vs. a severe outbreak were even provided, something I had not found anywhere else.

The information here is not dumbed down in that it is not so vague that it is not useful.
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More About the Author

Mark H. Beers, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The Merck Manuals, is Executive Director of Geriatrics and Medical Literature at Merck & Co., Inc., and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, MCP -- Drexel University. Dr. Beers assembled a group of nearly 200 eminent experts as Editorial Board members, consultants, and authors for this book.This outstanding group has dedicated years to the development of The Merck Manual Of Medical Information -- Second Home Edition, ensuring that the information contained within it is complete and easy to use and understand, while meeting the same standards of excellence that health care professionals have trusted in The Merck Manual for more than a century.

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