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J R Soc Med. 2004 November; 97(11): 554.
PMCID: PMC1079657

International Textbook of Diabetes Mellitus

Reviewed by C Mark B Edwards

Second Edition
Editors: R A Defronzo, E Ferrannini, H Keen, P Zimmet
Vol. 1, 1015 pp Vol 2, 1913 pp Price £295 ISBN 0-471-48655-8 (h/b)
Chichester: John Wiley .

Seven years on from the last edition of the International Textbook of Diabetes Mellitus the incidences of obesity, type 2 diabetes and even type 1 diabetes have all increased dramatically. In the year 2000, according to the World Health Organization, 150 million people worldwide were living with diabetes; by 2025 the prevalence is projected to double—probably a conservative estimate since childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes show alarming increases. Fortunately, our knowledge of pathogenesis and management has also improved. The new edition of this world-renowned reference book is therefore well timed. Aimed at an international audience it has separate sections looking at problems peculiar to certain areas of the world. This approach, unique to the International Textbook, is apposite since in parts of the developing world the increases in obesity and type 2 diabetes are exceptionally rapid.

Books such as this run the risk of gathering dust on some far-flung bookshelf. To assess its usability in everyday practice I consulted it after a few diabetic clinics and looked at certain areas relevant to the patients I had just seen. The authorship is impressive, with most of the big players contributing. This can be a recipe for turgidity but the sections I looked at were all very readable. Consulting it, I was not able to enlighten one patient as to the evidence for cinnamon treatment in type 2 diabetes; however, the book did enable me to answer queries (and sometimes to educate myself) on drugs to prevent diabetes, the physiological/pathophysiological role of C-peptide, lipodystrophies, treatments for obesity and islet transplantation—all of which are covered comprehensively. The chapters are clearly subdivided and the generous use of figures and diagrams makes the book reader-friendly; the full colour allows much clearer illustrations, particularly of retinas and microscopy slides, than black and white. A good third of the textbook is given over to references, allowing the reader to pursue points of interest. The number of chapters has increased from 74 in the first edition to 116, reflecting increasing knowledge in areas such as genetics, the pathophysiology of obesity and therapeutic agents. I was a little disappointed to see, in some chapters that have kept the original authors, the content little different from before; in most chapters, however, the material is either completely new or vastly altered.

This book is intended primarily as a work of reference for diabetes/endocrinology departments or libraries. Few consultants or specialist registrars in clinical diabetes will not find it useful and it will be valued also by diabetes researchers. At £295 it will not break a consultant or hospital trust’s bank, and is just light enough to carry from car to study without recourse to a trolley or chiropractor. For those who find the two volumes too much, in weight or price, the entire work is available online via www.Wiley.com, with the advantage of regular updating.


Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press