Many students decide to follow a career path that is related to medicine, for example Biomedical Sciences (Medical Technology in the USA), Clinical Sciences, Clinical Physiology and Nursing. While there are a number of textbooks for medical students and nurses as well as a number covering the clinical biochemistry area, there did not seem to us to be a book that dealt with disease from a more scientific standpoint. Such a book would cover a range of disease conditions, their causes and diagnoses, and outline treatment but set at an appropriate level. The idea of writing Biology of Disease arose from discussions between ourselves and various colleagues and students over a number of years regarding the absence of a single book, which summarized most of the clinical material studied by first- and second-year Biomedical Sciences and related-degree students. It was felt that such a textbook would assist students during the first and second years of their degree programmes, particularly if it covered aspects of the Biomedical Sciences appropriate to courses accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science of the UK and similar courses elsewhere.
When writing Biology of Disease it was decided to include appropriate background material, describing it in relatively simple terms. However, in practice itwasnot possible tocover all these aspects hence some preknowledge of biochemistry and cell and molecular biology has been assumed. Although Biology of Disease is not primarily a medical textbook, we do think it could also be of value to students participating in foundation courses for medical schools. The areas and topics covered by the termbiomedical sciences are vast and we have had to curtail the number of topics included – modern medicine and its ancillary subjects represent a huge body of knowledge.
The structure of the book aims to help students plan their learning and navigate their way through complex topics. For example, all chapters begin with clearly stated Objectives, followed by a short Introduction to set the scene for the ensuing contents. The main body of text of all the chapters includes ‘Boxes’ of one or two pages length to highlight a medical or scientific aspect we felt to be of special interest. Margin Notes emphasize material worth highlighting and provide a little extra explanation to the text.
Each chapter has a concluding short Summary. Students (and staff ) can test themselves against the chapter material using the simple Case Studies and relevant end-of-chapter questions provided. Each chapter is illustrated by simple line diagrams, light and electron micrographs and tables, as well as molecular models of compounds of interest.