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September 23, 1988

Textbook of Diagnostic Medicine

Author Affiliations

Fallon Clinic Worcester, Mass

Fallon Clinic Worcester, Mass

JAMA. 1988;260(12):1791. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410120137044

This estimable book is really a problem-oriented textbook of internal medicine without any considerations of therapy. Two mental processes are involved in diagnosis: pattern recognition, or the identification of a specific disease, and pathophysiological analysis, or the evaluation of illness. Both of these presuppose a fundamental body of relevant information. This book helps to supply that information.

The editor points out that new imaging and laboratory techniques have improved the physician's diagnostic capability but paradoxically have contributed to a decline in history-taking and physical examination skills. He attempts to correct this situation by stressing the proper importance of data collected at the beside or in the physician's office.

The first chapter is on the principles of clinical diagnosis, and the second is an excellent treatment of the selection and interpretation of laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures. Then follow 20 chapters discussing several hundred topics, organized by anatomic systems, etiology of