Customer Review

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing CD?, June 22, 2009
This review is from: Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, 12th Edition (Hardcover)
Like a previous reviewer, Rachael M. Thomas, I too purchased this book from Amazon, but it didn't come with a CD. I believe I bought it about the same time she did (assuming she purchased it around the time she wrote her review in April '09). It's the latest edition (12th). Brand new. Yet no CD. I mean, it has a little CD pouch or holder inside the front book cover, as if a CD should be inside of it. The pouch is shaped perfectly to hold a CD. But no CD. Weird.

Still, I'm very happy with the purchase. The text and illustrations are excellent. There's just enough info for a first year med student - not too little, not too much. It is somewhat dry, but, well, this is a textbook, not a novel. But the information is clear and accessible. Also, I like how anatomy and physiology are integrated, so you learn where things are located as well as what they do. Form and function. Maybe it's a personal thing, but I find it helps in remembering to study the two together. There are some other features such as the occasional histology slide to help out too.

The main drawback of an integrated textbook like this one is that it tends not to be as in-depth as a standalone textbook focused on a single subject. So, for more detail, some students might instead prefer to purchase separate textbooks for each subject - anatomy and physiology.

For anatomy, there are texts and then there are atlases. Texts explain anatomy and anatomical relations and so forth in-depth, and also include some photos, diagrams, etc. Whereas atlases contain tons of photos, illustrations, and other diagrams, as well as things like radiological images, with a sparse amount of text. You can preview various texts and atlases via Amazon's preview feature, or often they're also preview-able on the publisher's website, to decide what's best for you.

* For an anatomy textbook, Gray's Anatomy for Students and either (baby) Moore's Essential Clinical Anatomy or (big) Moore's Clinically Oriented Anatomy are often recommended. The strength of Gray's is its beautiful pictures and diagrams. But I find the text and organization leave something to be desired. Personally, I prefer Moore's. For example, I appreciate its famous blue boxes focused on the clinical application of anatomy. I think Baby Moore's is more than sufficient for med school. But from what I've heard from other doctors and staff, primary care and other related physicians tend to prefer Big Moore's between the two. So it might be worthwhile investing in Big Moore's if you're considering going down this track. And, to complicate matters a bit more, surgeons have their own specialized anatomy texts (e.g. Last's Anatomy).

* For an anatomy atlas, the classic is Netter's. Also, others recommend photographic ones like Rohen's Color Atlas of Anatomy. The benefit of Rohen's is it includes actual photos of dissected cadavers, prosections, and so on. But the problem with Rohen's is that it doesn't go as in-depth or get as detailed as Netter's or other atlases, although if combined with anatomy lectures, it should be plenty for most med students. Nevertheless some might prefer a non-photographic atlas like Netter's Atlas or perhaps Thieme's which doesn't have photos but illustrations or diagrams instead and tend to be more detailed than the photographic ones. Also, in my opinion, Grant's is underrated. It's a really fantastic atlas. It's mainly diagrammatic but it also includes other things like some photographs and radiological images. It's quite detailed too. In fact, many of the diagrams in Grant's are also used in Moore's. (Not so coincidentally, both Grant's and Moore's share authors.) The major downside of Grant's is that it's not as well organized as is for example Netter's, so it takes some searching around at first to familiarize yourself with where things are in Grant's. The experience can be frustrating to say the least.

But to be honest, I think lecture notes + anatomy labs + either an anatomy textbook or atlas of your choice (not necessarily both unless you have extra money to splurge) are more than sufficient for learning the basic gross anatomy required in most med schools and for the USMLE Step 1. If you want to go beyond, perhaps if you want to specialize in general or other surgery, then you can buy specialized surgical anatomy books later down the road. But for med school a single general anatomy textbook or atlas to supplement the material your med school provides you should be sufficient for most students.

By the way, in case any med students are interested, this is obviously just my opinion, but I don't think you need to buy tons of textbooks for med school. Just a few, essential ones should suffice.

I'll also preface what I'm about to say with the following caveat: I think it's a bit tricky to recommend a book without knowing more about the person interested in purchasing a book such as how they think and study or their background. Some books might work better for some but not necessarily for others. My recommendations are based on what I find helpful for me. But, again, I say all this because your mileage may vary.

* An anatomy textbook. Tortora's is sufficient if you want to combine anatomy and physiology in one textbook. But if you go with a separate anatomy textbook, I think Moore's is great. Although if you decide on Moore, it might be better to get Baby Moore which is less detailed. It's sometimes easy to lose the forest for the trees with so much detail. Then again, this might just be me.

* Or an anatomy atlas. I'd probably go for Rohen's. Even though it's not as detailed as Netter's or Grant's, this isn't at all to say Rohen's is poor in detail. Rohen's might not have as much detail as Grant's but it's still quite sufficient - especially when combined with anatomy lectures, etc. - to learn anatomy at the med school level. Of course, Netter's is simply classic. It's well organized and includes terrific hand drawings. Others have pointed out mistakes here and there though. Obviously it's good to take note of mistakes and errors. But I don't think the mistakes detract from learning anatomy all that much if at all. Plus, I'd doubt any atlas is absolutely perfect. Not to mention the human body can itself vary considerably even between otherwise perfectly "normal" people. All that said, while Netter's is classic, some people don't like his drawing or artistic style. I agree it is a bit old-fashioned or dated looking. Also Netter's doesn't include as many radiological images and other things like say Grant's does. But Netter's has been around for decades and is still widely used, so that should at least be somewhat meaningful. The best thing to do would be to check out each text or atlas individually and see what works for you. I should mention if you sign up with the AMSA, I believe they usually throw in a free Netter's. If you already have Moore's though you might not want to get Grant's as there's a lot of overlap between the two. Again, I'd recommend Rohen's if I could only pick a single book to recommend. But that's because I like the real life stuff. But I admit again Rohen's doesn't have as much detail as other texts. Like it won't look at the same anatomical feature from various angles like Netter's would. Still if it's used in conjunction with what your med school teaches then it should be more than adequate. But I can see good reasons to opt for other atlases or textbooks too (e.g. if someone is more of a textual learner and not so much a visual learner then it might be preferable to get an anatomy text like Baby Moore's).

* A physiology textbook. Tortora is good but not in-depth. Other good ones include Costanzo (the big one, not the review) and of course Guyton, which is classic. Boron's is quite good too. But it's immense and perhaps overkill for most med students. If it were me, I'd probably pick Costanzo's since it's relatively cheap so you can get quite a lot of bang for your buck. But Guyton's is of course far more comprehensive.

* A pathology textbook. Robbins Basic Pathology should be sufficient. But then again everyone seems to get the big one, Pathological Basis of Disease. I assume this is so they can reference it in their clinical years or during residency or whatever.

* A clinical examination textbook. Bates is often recommended. I haven't reached the clinical half of medicine so I can't really speak too much on this apart from what senior med students recommend.

* A medicine textbook. Everyone seems to love Harrison's. Yes, it's awesome. It's a complete Bible of medicine. But it's got way too much information. In fact, several resident and even attending physicians have told me it has more than what even they as physicians need to know. It's better to use something like the latest edition of Current's. Or check out ones used in the UK like Kumar and Clark's Clinical Medicine or Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. During rotations, you'll see several other resources (e.g. UpToDate). Of course, a subscription to the New England Journal of Medicine and access to the latest journal articles is a great idea here too.

* First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. An absolute must. Then supplement with qbanks from places like Kaplan or USMLEWorld. Goljan's Rapid Review Pathology completes the trifecta.

Other books like histology and microbiology aren't absolutely necessary either. But some might like to get them. For histology, I appreciate Junqueira's over other ones like Ross or Wheater's. For microbiology many really like Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple. But others like me prefer more traditional textbooks like Mims'. Pharmacology is important too but it's a growing and expanding field so it might not be ideal to spend the money to buy a textbook. If you do, though, I've found Katzung helpful. It's good on fundamental principles. Like many, I like Lippincott's for biochemistry. Books on embryology, immunology, genetics, medical dictionaries, and so forth really aren't necessary, I don't think. For example, embryology is sometimes included in anatomy textbooks. There's a lot of great stuff available online too.

I should note that I don't read through textbooks in their entirety, but use them to supplement lectures, or when I don't understand something, or when I want to look up things in more detail.

Also, I should mention that many if not most med schools provide students with access to online med books via places like Access Medicine. So no need to buy many textbooks since it's likely you'll be able to access them online via your med school.

I think the main focus for the first half of med school should be lectures. Of course, there's always more stuff to learn, but if you stick to your lectures and what your med school expects you to learn, then you won't lose sight of the primary concepts - which you can then build on as it suits you.

Anyway, just my two cents' worth.

(One reason I'm mentioning all this is because I wasted way more money than I would've liked purchasing all sorts of textbooks that I hardly seem to use, and don't want others to make the same mistake. I guess it's not "wasted," per se, since I have a bunch of books I can easily reference. But, still, it's probably not warranted for me to spend $100 or whatever on a book that I'll only use a couple of times throughout the course of med school when I could just have easily borrowed it from the library or another classmate. Oh well. Live and learn. On the plus side, now others can borrow from me.)
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 10, 2009 9:34:23 AM PDT
S. Terry says:
Inside the CD envelope thing is a registration code for the interactive online website, instead of producing cd's the information is on the website and you get all the info from it.

Posted on Apr 9, 2011 5:31:01 PM PDT
bsmith says:
Thank you so much for such wonderful info; it is really helpful.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 12:46:27 PM PDT
Thank you for this informative review!
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