October 26, 1994

Salt and Water in Culture and Medicine

Author Affiliations

Rochester General Hospital University of Rochester School of Medicine Rochester, NY


by Poul Astrup, Peter Bie, and Hans Chr. Engell, 287 pp, with illus, ISBN 0-87-16-11226-1, Copenhagen, Denmark, Munksgaard, 1993.

JAMA. 1994;272(16):1300-1301. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520160092051

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Aficionados of fluid and electrolyte metabolism often refer to their specialty as the study of salt and water. At the age of 78, Poul Astrup, best known for his work on the measurement of blood gases, has given us a book that belongs on the shelves of every salt and water enthusiast. Even those less devoted to this discipline will not be disappointed. The text is a gold mine of medical and cultural history that can be enjoyed by physicians, physiologists, and lay persons.

Salt and Water in Culture and Medicine is a compact, handsome volume. It is richly illustrated with an eclectic collection of prints that include paintings and photographs of our scientific forebears (Alcibiades, Arrhenius, Addison, Darrow, Donnan, Gamble, Gibbs, Haldane, Moore, Nernst, Paracelsus, Pasteur, Peters, Priestley, Ringer, Starling, van't Hoff, to name a few), numerous etchings, and even a mural painting taken from the wall of an

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