Edited by Howard Fillit, Kenneth Rockwood and John Young
Published by Elsevier (July 2016)
The study of elderly medicine impacts on a large number of disciplines and of course it is a speciality in its own right. So it is very useful to have access to a good textbook to help a user explore this subject and act as a good reference source. So does this book fit the bill? Well the answer is a definite yes as it is an excellent all round textbook (and electronic edition as well-more later). It is not just a book that looks at medical problems in people who happen to be older-though it covers this as well. As the title suggests, it looks at the specialty of gerontology. This in itself is a fascinating cruise through a science that many clinicians will only have a passing knowledge about. For example there is a chapter on neuroendocrinology of aging. It is a side of elderly medicine that many front line clinicians will know little about and is certainly educational and fascinating. According to the introduction, this new edition is the first since the death of Professor Brocklehurst and read his impressive obituary at https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jul/17/john-brocklehurst (this was cited in the introduction)
Of course, there is also a big section on geriatric medicine covering everything you would expect and covers traditional topics set out in a standard systems based approach. The third section is more problem orientated containing sections on falls, pain in the older adult and urinary incontinence, just to name a few examples. Put together this makes a chunky, well built and fairly comprehensive textbook of elderly medicine that covers a fair volume of material. This makes this impressive volume act both as a reference source and interesting book simply to open a selected chapter and read some interesting material.
Now in its 8th edition (the first edition appearing in 1973) this book has evolved into a global resource and it is pleasing that as well as contributors appearing from both sides of the Atlantic (North America and the UK), other countries are represented. This multinational mix infused into a mature textbook updated for a fresh edition in 2016, should result in a leading edge textbook. I believe it has succeeded in produced a book of excellence.
Being part of the publisher’s ExpertConsult series, it comes bundled with the purchase price, web access to the book’s content and an ebook which can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet via an app. The contents of the book can also be downloaded onto the app so no internet access is needed and searching can be fast. These digital additions add very much to the value of the book.
Of course a high quality book accompanied by excellent digital resources included in the price is not going to be cheap. Indeed the purchase price is not cheap but assuming you have a need for a seriously good textbook of elderly people, then this book well deserves a look in.
Dr Harry Brown