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Book Reviews


Dries, David J. Book Review Editor

Author Information
doi: 10.1097/01.SHK.0000286293.63833.12
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Author: John A. Kiernan

Bibliographic Data: Scion Publishing Ltd, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-904842-42-2, 606 pages, soft cover, $75.00.

Reviewer's Expert Opinion

Description: Histochemical methods provide powerful tools for analyzing the location and distribution of molecules in cells and tissues. These elegant methods are essential core protocols for laboratories involved in basic research and pathologic diagnosis. This handbook provides a compendium of theoretical and practical information on topics ranging from preparing tissues for microscopic evaluation to protocols for identifying intracellular enzymes and nucleic acids. The primary focus is on biochemistry, cell biology, and histology. Purpose: According to the author, the purpose is to teach chemical, physical and biological principles of fixation, staining and histochemistry." He writes: "I urge the reader to determine the reason for every step in a method… [because] adaptations and adjustments are often necessary." Audience: The book is written for histopathology laboratory personnel. It will also be appreciated by lecturers and students studying histochemical techniques, biomedical technology, and laboratory medicine. Scientists interested in cell and developmental biology will appreciate the wealth of practical information. The author assumes that readers have a foundation of knowledge in chemistry and biochemistry. Features: The 20 chapters are filled with interesting theoretical information and excellent practical tips. The book begins with a review of conventions and abbreviations. Each chapter includes a detailed table of contents and brief overview. Methods are presented in the sequence: staining solution, procedure, results, and notes. The author includes key references at the end of the book to document authorship for specific methods and as a guide for further scholarship. The tables, chemical formulas, and line drawings are clear and informative. An appendix provides recipes for buffer solutions and other essential data. The depth and breadth of topics covered in this handbook is impressive. Assessment: This book is concise yet comprehensive. The author carefully explains the theory and practice of histology from A-to-Z. It is an excellent practical guide and reference manual. The emphasis on new staining techniques (such as in situ hybridization) helps keep the field fresh and enhances the role of histology in the biomedical sciences. The text is well written and a pleasure to read. It will be a welcome resource for hospital staff in departments of laboratory medicine and pathology. It also provides a wealth of information for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and basic science researchers studying modern cell biology.

Reviewer: Bruce A. Fenderson, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University)

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