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Book and Media Reviews
September 2, 2009

Textbook of Physical Diagnosis: History and Examination

JAMA. 2009;302(9):1005. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1291

There are many physical diagnosis textbooks. What makes Textbook of Physical Diagnosis: History and Examination stand out is its comprehensiveness, its attention to detail, and its use of images. If, as it has been said, a picture is worth a thousand words, this text is worth at least a quarter of a million. The images are gorgeous, and splendid in their clarity and variety. Predictably, the book includes images of dermatological conditions—but also of other conditions, such as multiple images of the oral cavity, including pharyngitis secondary to mononucleosis; the pseudo-membrane that occurs secondary to diphtheria; abnormalities such as cleft palate; and normal variants such as torus palatinus. Text accompanies the images, with an overview of the physical examination of different body systems provided along with examples of questions to use in taking the history. The text is supplemented by charts of symptoms and signs and by discussion of the clinicopathological correlation of the conditions. Each chapter has a list of “useful vocabulary” that provides roots of the terminology used to describe conditions that arise in the respective organ system.

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