Physiology 6th Edition
Book PrefacePhysiology 6th Edition
Physiology is the foundation of medical practice. A firm grasp of its principles is essential for the medical student and the practicing physician. This book is intended for students of medicine and related disciplines who are engaged in the study of physiology. It can be used either as a companion to lectures and syllabi in discipline-based curricula or as a primary source in integrated or problem-based curricula. For advanced students, the book can serve as a reference in pathophysiology courses and in clinical clerkships. In the sixth edition of this book, as in the previous editions, the important concepts in physiology are covered at the organ system and cellular levels. Chapters 1 and 2 present the underlying principles of cellular physiology and the autonomic nervous system. Chapters 3 through 10 present the major organ systems: neurophysiology and cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, acid-base, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and reproductive physiology. The relationships between organ systems are emphasized to underscore the integrative mechanisms for homeostasis. This edition includes the following features designed to facilitate the study of physiology:
♦ Text that is easy to read and concise: Clear headings orient the student to the organization and hierarchy of the material. Complex physiologic information is presented systematically, logically, and in a stepwise manner. When a process occurs in a specific sequence, the steps are numbered in the text and often correlate with numbers shown in a companion figure. Bullets are used to separate and highlight the features of a process. Rhetorical questions are posed throughout the text to anticipate the questions that students may be asking; by first contemplating and then answering these questions, students learn to explain difficult concepts and rationalize unexpected or paradoxical findings. Chapter summaries provide a brief overview.
♦ Tables and illustrations that can be used in concert with the text or, because they are designed to stand alone, as a review: The tables summarize, organize, and make comparisons. Examples are (1) a table that compares the gastrointestinal hormones with respect to hormone family, site of and stimuli for secretion, and hormone actions; (2) a table that compares the pathophysiologic features of disorders of Ca2+ homeostasis; and (3) a table that compares the features of the action potential in different cardiac tissues. The illustrations are clearly labeled, often with main headings, and include simple diagrams, complex diagrams with numbered steps, and flow charts.
♦ Equations and sample problems that are integrated into the text: All terms and units in equations are defined, and each equation is restated in words to place it in a physiologic context. Sample problems are followed by complete numerical solutions and explanations that guide students through the proper steps in reasoning; by following the steps provided, students acquire the skills and confidence to solve similar or related problems.
♦ Clinical physiology presented in boxes: Each box features a fictitious patient with a classic disorder. The clinical findings and proposed treatment are explained in terms of underlying physiologic principles. An integrative approach to the patient is used to emphasize the relationships between organ systems. For example, the case of type I diabetes mellitus involves a disorder not only of the endocrine system but also of the renal, acid-base, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.
♦ Practice questions in “Challenge Yourself” sections at the end of each chapter: Practice questions, which are designed for short answers (a word, a phrase, or a numerical solution), challenge the student to apply principles and concepts in problem solving rather
than to recall isolated facts. The questions are posed in varying formats and are given in random order. They will be most helpful when used as a tool after studying each chapter and without referring to the text. In that way, the student can confirm his or her
understanding of the material and can determine areas of weakness. Answers are provided at the end of the book.
♦ Teaching videos on selected topics: Because students may benefit from oral explanation of complex principles, brief teaching videos on selected topics are included to complement the written text.
♦ Abbreviations and normal values presented in appendices: As students refer to and use these common abbreviations and values throughout the book, they will find that their use becomes second nature.
This book embodies three beliefs that I hold about teaching: (1) even complex information can be transmitted clearly if the presentation is systematic, logical, and stepwise; (2) the presentation can be just as effective in print as in person; and (3) beginning medical
students wish for nonreference teaching materials that are accurate and didactically strong but without the details that primarily concern experts. In essence, a book can “teach” if the teacher’s voice is present, if the material is carefully selected to include essential information, and if great care is given to logic and sequence.
This text offers a down-to-earth and professional presentation written to students and for students.
I hope that the readers of this book enjoy their study of physiology. Those who learn its principles well will be rewarded throughout their professional careers!
Linda S. Costanzo
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