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Book and Media Reviews
April 13, 2011

The 5-Minute Clinical Consult

JAMA. 2011;305(14):1488-1492. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.442

The 19th edition of The 5-Minute Clinical Consult is particularly relevant to the busy family physician searching for rapid access to updated information on common and important conditions and symptoms.

The book includes a number of sections. The concise presentation on evidence-based medicine following the preface is an exceptionally well-written summary of definitions relevant to scientific literature. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations are presented according to age groups, ranging from the first 10 years of life to older than 65 years. It was surprising to see that in presenting health maintenance guidelines for the older population, hepatitis B screening was recommended for “all pregnant women.” Although pregnancy in elderly persons is not impossible, it certainly is rare. The “Diagnosis and Treatment: An Algorithmic Approach” section presents diagnostic flowcharts organized by presenting clinical diagnosis and treatment. While useful, algorithms should be used with caution, because they present a focused, definite approach not always solidly based on clear evidence.