Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
As anyone who has ever been on a surgical rotation will recall, one
of the most solemn codas to advice given students and resident surgeons is
the ominous warning "and don't ever mess with the pancreas." We no longer
consider mere visualization of the pancreas a certain bad omen for patient
outcome. However, respect for the seriousness of diseases associated with
the pancreas is still merited. While we have learned much about such diseases
as pancreatic insufficiency, pancreas divisum, and gallstone pancreatitis,
to name a few, we remain in the dark about the optimal approach to pancreatic
cancer and even the nature of its origin. This focused narrative about the
pancreas provides an excellent context in which to examine the great distance
covered by medicine in recent centuries.
Espat NJ. Pancreatology. JAMA. 2003;289(14):1862-1863. doi:10.1001/jama.289.14.1862