The dramatic revolution in molecular biology, coupled with the computational ability to make sense of terabytes of data, is changing the face of medicine.
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With each passing year (indeed with almost every passing hour) there is an explosion of new information that requires digestion, comprehension, and assimilation—all of it potentially impacting disease diagnosis and therapy. Integrating and making sense of all the new knowledge is a challenging proposition—even for seasoned physicians and scientists who already enjoy a reasonable (and semi-organized) understanding of pathobiology. However, for the novice student—experiencing the amazing depth and breadth of human disease for the first (or second or third) time—the thirst for knowledge can easily get drowned by a fire hose of information. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease (AKA: the Big Book) has long been the fundamental pathology text for students of medicine, organizing the occasionally bewildering flood of facts and concepts into a comprehensive yet manageable, beautifully illustrated, and eminently readable entrée into the universe of pathobiology. And yet, at more than 1300 pages (and weighing in at 7 pounds in its dead tree form), the Big Book is still a daunting tome.
Enter the Pocket Companion. Initially an offspring of the fourth edition of the Big Book in 1991, the Pocket Companion was born of the recognition that the immense wealth of knowledge about human disease could somehow be succinctly organized and made even more accessible for the overwhelmed medical student and harried house officer. In addition, students and educators alike are increasingly reluctant to make a substantial financial commitment to an opus that is constantly being rewritten, keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of modern medicine. Thus the Pocket Companion meets several important needs, being practical and frugal, yet also immensely (and densely) useful—substantially more than a simple topical outline or the “Key Concepts” boxes that are now a prominent feature of the Big Book. In assembling this update, four major objectives have guided the writing:
• Make the detailed expositions in Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease easier to digest by providing a condensed overview and also retaining the most helpful figures and tables.
• Facilitate the use of the Big Book by providing the relevant crossreferenced page numbers.
• Help readers identify the core material that requires their primary attention.
• Serve as a handy tool for quick review of a large body of information.
In the age of Wikipedia and other online data compendiums, it is obviously not difficult to just find information; to be sure, the Pocket Companion is also available in a readily searchable digital format. However, what the twenty-first century student of pathology needs is an organized, pithy, and easy-to-digest synopsis of the pertinent concepts and facts with specific links to the definitive material in a more expansive volume.
This ninth edition of the Pocket Companion hopefully accomplishes that end. It has been rewritten from front to back, reflecting all the innovations and new knowledge encompassed in the Big Book. Illustrative tables and figures also reduce the verbiage, although as before, the beautiful gross and histologic images of the parent volume are not reproduced. Pains have also been taken to present all the material with the same stylistic voice; the organization of the material and level of detail is considerably more uniform between chapters than in previous editions. In doing so we hope that the Pocket Companion retains the flavor and excitement of the Big Book—just in a more bite-size format—and truly is a suitable “companion.”
Medicine Book Free: Pocket Companion to Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease