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Books, Journals, New Media
March 19, 2003


Author Affiliations

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; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 2003;289(11):1441-1442. doi:10.1001/jama.289.11.1441

The splendid seventh edition of this venerated text is now available. There are major changes in editors, authors, page size, and publishing details as part of the evolution toward an ever more useful text to assist beginners and experts. Early editions incorporated physiology and pathology into an understanding of enteral gastroenterology, and there were no comparable texts.

As new editions appeared, fields of advancement progressed from physiology and pathology to biochemistry and immunology and, more recently, genetics, cellular kinetics, and, within immunology, cytokines. Diagnosis became more dependent upon videoendoscopy and its associated ultrasound. Treatment recommendations were initially based on the experience of experts, but, with controlled trials and evidence-based medicine, such experience diminished in value. About the time of the third edition, competing texts appeared, usually establishing their own emphasis and identity but also pirating the best of Sleisenger & Fordtran. A plethora of excellent hepatology texts appeared as well. As a result of this competition, new editions of Sleisenger & Fordtran incorporated the most valuable features of their rivals (hepatology was added to the sixth edition) and became ever more useful. With each new edition the editors and publisher confronted the dilemma of completeness balanced with what to leave out to keep size and cost manageable. The present edition diminishes basic science moderately, omits technical aspects of endoscopy, and focuses on evidence-based management.

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