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April 9, 1973

Fundamentals of the Tracer Method

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston


by Teresa J. C. Welch, E. James Potchen and Michael J. Welch, 187 pp, with illus, $9.75, W. B. Saunders Co., 1972.

JAMA. 1973;224(2):251. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220150059036

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This slim volume of eight chapters presents the methodological substrate for working with tracers in general and radioactive ones in particular. The scheme of the book is contained in the chapter headings: Tracers, Introduction to Mathematical Concepts, Statistical Methods, Data Presentation, Experimental Design, Qualitative Biomedical Examples, Mathematical Development, and Quantitative Biomedical Examples of Tracer Kinetics.

The substance of each chapter is sufficient for an individual text and the authors consequently make no attempt at completeness or formal derivation. On the contrary, it is their aim to present the scope of their discipline, the tracer method, so that the uninitiated or newly initiated can see what tools and concepts are required to work in its confines.

The chapter on experimental design is particularly original and deserves reading even out of context. It deals in a straightforward manner with phenomenology as empiricism, and with problem-solving as "how to pose a question" and