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Book Review

The Medical Basis of Psychiatry, 3rd ed

Peter F. Buckley, MD

Published: August 15, 2010

The Medical Basis of Psychiatry, 3rd ed.

edited by S. Hossein Fatemi, MD, PhD, and Paula J. Clayton, MD. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 2008, 799 pages, $185 (hardcover).

The Medical Basis of Psychiatry is a major contributor to psychiatric education, serving as an authoritative source now for more than a generation of mental health clinicians.

The Third Edition, published some 14 years following the prior edition, has been entirely revised. Accordingly, it reflects the advances in both the neuroscience and the practice of psychiatry. The textbook covers the essentials of our field in a balanced and remarkably comprehensive manner. As a Departmental Chairman, I am particularly pleased to see that every effort has been made to include the very latest key publications while retaining reference to seminal papers in the chapters. Given the scope of this text, this balance is no small task, and the editors and contributing authors—some 70 of the best experts in our field—are to be congratulated. With an increasing emphasis on evidence-based curriculum and practice in training programs now, it is challenging for major texts to cover the scope of our field while (still) being at the cutting edge. The Medical Basis of Psychiatry has met this challenge and will be a great asset to residents and other trainees. Today’s trainees can have full confidence that the Third Edition of this text will provide the required breadth and depth of information on current biology and treatment in psychiatry.

The chapters are written by recognized experts, and it is evident that each contributor has carefully ensured that his or her chapter is complete and covers all the necessary elements as if it were a stand-alone contribution. I particularly like the chapter layout and explicit tables. The many photos also add to the text. I also really like the profiles of leaders in our field—this is a very nice touch.

While my own research focus is on the neurobiology and treatment of schizophrenia (the chapter by Dr Fatemi is terrific!), as chairman of an academic department I was very pleased to see excellent contributions also in cognitive-behavioral therapy, forensics, and sexual disorders. One (relatively minor) omission: there is no chapter dedicated to measurement and clinical scales in psychiatry.

The skilled editors—Drs Fatemi and Clayton—and contributing authors are to be congratulated for providing us with this outstanding text.

Peter F. Buckley, MD

Author affiliations: Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 71

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