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Clinical Gastroenterology: a practical problem-based approach (Third edition)

During medical school, my study vacations were spent poring over Prof Nicholas Talley’s textbooks, memorising the key steps to passing each clinical examination. It was during the following years of internship and residency that I appreciated more fully the systematic style of practice that Talley taught and encouraged to be honed throughout a career.

05 Jun 2011

Clinical Gastroenterology: a practical problem-based approach (Third edition)

Nicholas J Talley, 2011. Elsevier Australia

During medical school, my study vacations were spent poring over Prof Nicholas Talley’s textbooks, memorising the key steps to passing each clinical examination. It was during the following years of internship and residency that I appreciated more fully the systematic style of practice that Talley taught and encouraged to be honed throughout a career.

Clinical Gastroenterology illustrates Talley’s methods. The text is divided according to common symptoms, originating from the oropharynx (difficulty swallowing and pain on swallowing) to the anal orifice (perianal pain).  This focus on what a patient experiences is a common element in Talley’s textbooks. It ensures that the book is ideal for problem-based learning, the adopted approach of most Australian medical schools.

In the foreword, Prof Gregory Gores states that: “In our current era … we often lose track of a rational and symptom-based approach in evaluating a patient’s symptoms.”

Talley seeks to bring emphasis back upon thorough history, examination and medical reasoning. He encourages the reader to consider a wide range of differential diagnoses, and to seek specific associated features and signs. A concise description of investigative and management options then serves as a valuable guide to what Gores describes as an increasingly available “barrage of imaging and endoscopic techniques”. Tables, diagrams and flowcharts are scattered through each chapter for quick reference. The chapters conclude with a list of key points to aid memory.

As Talley says in the preface, the publishing of the third edition of Clinical Gastroenterology suggests that the text has “survived childhood and adolescence and has reached adulthood”. The additional chapters in this edition, which cover topics such as obesity and liver transplantation, reflect the evolving demands of medicine. In keeping with its emphasis on clinical relevance and practicality, the chapters on H. pylori testing and preparation for endoscopy would ease the anxieties of many a resident in gastroenterology.

Clinical Gastroenterology is a comprehensive text that emphasises thorough, rational examination in an age increasingly dominated by new investigative technology. The clinically relevant presentation of concise information will see this book gracing the shelves of generations of aspiring gastroenterologists.

Dr Jennifer Wang, Intern, Concord Hospital, Sydney


Published: 05 Jun 2011