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Book and Media Reviews
July 9, 2008

Essentials of Autopsy Practice: New Advances, Trends, and Developments

JAMA. 2008;300(2):219-221. doi:10.1001/jama.300.2.219-b

Despite various proposals to reverse the downward trend in autopsy rates in the United States and abroad, autopsy numbers continue to decrease. In the past 5 to 10 years, other modalities such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been shown helpful as adjuncts to autopsy; however, it is doubtful that invasive autopsies will ever be completely replaced. There subsists a trend in which pathologists who continue to perform autopsies will, however, undoubtedly be faced with the task of implementing a mixture of clinical and forensic protocols. The third edition of Essentials of Autopsy Practice has a primary medicolegal emphasis, but it is an excellent resource for pathologists in need of a concise and well-written reference for a variety of cases. This new edition includes chapters that address postmortem toxicologic redistribution, sudden deaths related to body weight, elder abuse and gerontocide, and bioterrorism, among other subjects that most certainly will arise in a pathologist's practice. Such chapters reflect not only the types of autopsies now being performed but also changes in society, science, and medicine.