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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 12, 2005
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. There is a lot of information here but it is written in a style for the layperson to understand. I appreciated the writing style, which presents information to the non-physician without putting on airs.

Anyone who, like me, prefers to gather information and learn about things rather than making a call or office visit to their doctor to get just one opinion will appreciate owning this book. At about 1500 pages it covers many illnesses and ailments. If you are interested in this book I suggest you buy it so that you have it at your fingertips 24 hours a day, for whatever may arise. I am not suggesting this take the place of a doctor, but I know from working with physicians that there are certain calls that are non-emergent in nature that are not appreciated when the office is closed!

Note: I write this review in 6/2002 and don't know why the review never appeared here. I am resubmitting it over three years later. I have been using this book regularly since I wrote this review for many ailments and it has never disappointed me. I am still very happy with it.
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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.
Recently 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", no less) and was still lacking any substantial information. 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. There is a lot of information here but it is written in a style for the layperson to understand. I appreciated the writing style, which presents information to the non-physician without putting on airs.
Anyone who, like me, prefers to gather information and learn about things rather than making a call or office visit to their doctor to get just one opinion will appreciate owning this book. At about 1500 pages it covers many illnesses and ailments. If you are interested in this book I suggest you buy it so that you have it at your fingertips 24 hours a day, for whatever may arise. I am not suggesting this take the place of a doctor, but I know from working with physicians that there are certain calls that are non-emergent in nature that are not appreciated when the office is closed!
If you are looking for a book about children's ailments that encompasses not only western medicine but lists an array of other treatment methods, I suggest Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child: A Practical A-To-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments for Infants and Children by Janet Zand. I found this to be an excellent companion to the Merck manual, home edition. The Merck manual gives more information about the disease or ailment itself through a Western medicine viewpoint while the Zand's books' specialty is sharing treatment options grouped by category (herbal, homeopathic, western, etc.).
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on June 29, 2005
I am a physician working in the Northwest, and I own this book. I purchased it when I was in medical school and used it as a primer to get a plain English explaination of most common diseases. It is up to date, and far more accurate and unbiased compared to information you might find through google. I have no idea why it costs only $14, as medical textbooks of it's size usually cost five times as much.

In referance to the previous reviewer's statment, please don't every buy Gray's Anatomy. Few medical schools in the last half century have used it. Try Netter's Guide to Anatomy if you'd really like a good Anatomy book -- that is the gold standard.
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HALL OF FAMEon April 27, 2000
This hardbound 1,509 page authoritative health care encyclopedia will serve you well. Designed for home use, it covers every major medical/health care topic. Complete table of contents, and well indexed (over 11,000 entries) to make finding the information easy. Major topics range from Anatomy, Drugs, Bone, Joint and Muscle Disorders to Disorders of Skin, Eyes, Immune System, and Children's Health Issues. Many informative tables are provided. You'll find clear, easy to understand answers to most of your health questions. Even though I am a health professional and have access to the standard Merck Manual, I keep this volume at home for ready reference and refer to it often. Well worth the price. There are many books on the market about health care topics, but this one IS AUTHORITATIVE !
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on June 16, 2005
This review is for the paperback 2nd Home Edition pusblished May 2004.

If you, family members, or friends have some kind of physicial discomfort or illness, chances are this book has an explantion and a solution for it! Written for people that have no particular medical understanding whatsoever. The explanations are extremely detailed, and some section have illustrations and diagrams for performing emergency procedures. Over 1,767 pages of valuable information for an incredible price of $7.99, wow! If Gray's Anatomy is considered as de facto for people in biology/medical fields, then this book is the bible for how to correctly apply those knowledges to save life.
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on August 11, 2001
We value this book beyond all others we have seen. There is more information and it is better written than the rest. Of course we haven't covered the whole field, although we have several. BUT--do NOT buy the soft cover edition unless you have eyes like an eagle. While the information is there, it is crammed into 1600+ pages of nearly unreadable print, especially by the intended audience which we take to be us seniors. This many pages in a 4x7 inch format produces a book 2 1/2 inches thick It is nearly impossible to juggle the book and a magnifying glass at the same time. The good stuff is there, but it's hard to get out.
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on August 29, 2001
Let me start with my own qualifications for reviewing this invaluable book: 25 years' editing and indexing of professional medical texts and reference books; 20 years of creating "translations from the medicalese" for the rest of us; 3 years as consulting reviewer for an online health publication.
In this work, I use both the "senior" Merck Manual, which is written for professionals (though many nonprofessionals have been referred to it by librarians and such), and this recently developed "home" version, which I can't praise highly enough. It is literally the first text I have encountered that provides essential medical information in terms the average educated person can understand, WITHOUT writing down to people. It covers all the basic diseases and conditions and many unusual ones, including prevention where prevention is possible. Clear, understandable charts cover such topics as common blood and laboratory tests. The index is superb, so finding things is easy, whether you are coming at the topic by way of some medical jawbreaker your doctor has mentioned (myocardial infarction) or by way of what most people call it (heart attack). Any household would benefit from having this reference on its bookshelves. Even as a professional, I look in this edition first and tackle "Papa Merck" or a specialized textbook only if I need more than the basic information.
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on May 29, 2003
This is a wonderful summary of general medical information written in simple terms so this is a great addition to the family. It is very current in describing medical understanding of a variety of illnesses, and it provides a solid foundation upon which you can start doing more research on the Internet for the condition that you may be interested in finding about. It even suggests temporary remedies and puts you in charge of how you are treated by the medical profession. This is a must have book to keep around!
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This book acts as an excellent source of information for both the consumer and the professional. The book's format is easy to understand, yet it provides enough information to make a good understanding about a broad range of medical issues. I would recommend the book to anyone who is looking for a good source of medical information.
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VINE VOICEon June 8, 2000
As a student in med school, I got some other well-known medical dictionaries. It had been driving me nuts for years to go look something up in this other dictionary and find the word/topic wasn't listed. After many papers and writings for school and for deaf web sites, I finally had it with not having on hand something with more information in it. Since I work part time in a university bookstore while finishing my doctorate, I had time to browse through the many medical books which were available. This particular manual impressed me right off the bat, and after viewing it in comparison to others a few more times, I bought it. I have never regretted it, both as a student, writer, and a parent. It has solved problems and answered questions without the usual fiasco of looking up a definition, and then having to look up the words included in the definition or explaining the definition. This is truly an accessible medical manual for both lay people and those in fields of medicine. Karen Sadler, Science Education, University of Pittsburgh
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