Book Review  |   July 2010
Advanced Medicine Recall
Author Affiliations
  • Sarah P. Towne, DO, MS
    Walnut Creek, California
Article Information
Book Review   |   July 2010
Advanced Medicine Recall
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2010, Vol. 110, 402. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2010, Vol. 110, 402. doi:
Advanced Medicine Recall, edited by James D. Bergin, MD, is part of the Recall series by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, which includes 13 books in the clinical sciences. Only one of the books in this series—Osteopathic Medicine Recall—features content with specific appeal to the osteopathic medical profession. Nevertheless, all the books in the series—especially Advanced Medicine Recall—have much to offer their target audience of medical students. Geared toward fourth-year medical students, interns, and residents, Advanced Medicine Recall is a higher-level text than is Medicine Recall, which is in the same series and is aimed more in the direction of third-year medical students. 
Advanced Medicine Recall is written in a question-and-answer format that approximates the style of teaching rounds that have been conducted in teaching hospitals for many years. A bookmark is included so that one might occlude the answers on the right side of the page while reading the questions on the left side. At the top of this bookmark is the helpful reminder, “Remember to wash your hands, and respect the patient's modesty and confidentiality.” 
The two-page introduction in Section I is very sound, offering 12 “pearls” that medical professionals should heed and reread from time to time. For example, “When you write something in the chart, think how it would sound were it to be read aloud in court. If you write your notes that way, you will always be safe.” 
The chapters in Sections II and III are organized by clinical specialty area. Included among the 15 covered specialties are cardiology, infectious disease, oncology, environmental science, neurology, and psychiatry. Each chapter begins with a list of abbreviations and definitions related to the specialty. Following the list are questions and answers about conditions encountered in that specialty, grouped according to various topics. For example, under the topic of pericardial disease in the cardiology chapter, there are 21 questions, including, “What are some of the autoimmune causes of pericarditis?” “How is a pulsus paradoxus exam performed?” and “What is seen on the echocardiogram in pericardial constriction?” 
Section IV, the final section of the book, covers the roles and responsibilities of the consultant. Contained in this section are questions and answers on several topics, including “preoperative clearance of the surgical patient,” “antibiotic prophylaxis before surgery,” and “perioperative management of the diabetic patient.” 
For readers who enjoy the challenge of the question-and-answer format, Advanced Medicine Recall is an excellent book. The reader can obtain bits of information quickly from leafing through the pages. This book will not provide the reader with an overall view of pathophysiology or help the reader piece together diagnoses or treatment plans for patients with comorbid problems. 
In addition, for readers who recall the anxiety produced by relentless questioning from attendings on rounds, this book may not be in the best format. It may evoke memories of the not-particularly-useful “What am I thinking?” game of roundsmanship practiced in many educational settings. For example, when I looked up hemochromatosis in the index, I was referred to a single page in the gastroenterology chapter containing five questions. I found these questions to be interesting but of limited usefulness in diagnosing or managing the condition or in assessing risk of complications. Neither the prevalence of hemochromatosis nor the risks of cirrhosis or cardiac disease from iron overload are mentioned on this page—though patients are described as having a 20- to 30-fold increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma even if they do not have cirrhosis. The page also leaves out treatment for patients with hemochromatosis. 
For readers who like medical “factoids,” this will be a popular volume. However, it seems to me that time might be better spent reviewing such underlying concepts as pathophysiology, screening, and strategies for diagnosis and treatment. 
In summary, for those readers who like the challenge of questions and who enjoy leafing through pages for information during times that might otherwise be idle, Advanced Medicine Recall is a good and useful book. However, do not expect a review of pathophysiology, diagnosis, or management. If what you're looking for is a pocket reference guide, I suggest that you consider other volumes. 
 Edited by James D. Bergin, MD. 787 pp, $46.95. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-7629-5. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009.
 Editor's Note: Physicians, faculty members, and others within the healthcare professions who are interested in serving as book reviewers for the JAOA are invited to send a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to the JAOA`s Book Review Editor Frederick J. Goldstein, PhD, at
 Readers are encouraged to submit copies of recently published books that they wish to be considered for review to the JAOA`s editorial assistant at 142 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-2864. The JAOA is especially interested in books written by members of the osteopathic medical profession and books that address the profession's mission.