School of Anatomy and Human Biology - The University of Western Australia
|Blue Histology - Sources|
Teaching in histology means for most academics that they have to resort to texts to become familiar with those tissue that are not part of their day-to-day research. It is only fair to acknowledge these texts and, at the same time, to let you know which texts are consulted when I work on this web site. In addition to the mentioned texts, I do a lot of browsing (highly recommended!) and read the odd original article.
Like in many recent books, histology is here integrated with aspects of the undelying cell biology - with success. Molecules are not mentioned just for the sake of mentioning molecules and structure-function-cell biology relations are explained well - both in the concise text and in a copious amount of schematic illustrations and photographs of good quality. Schematic illustrations and photographs are mostly presented side-by-side which is very helpful. The organisation of the text does not follow traditional schemes, but it makes sense, and information is easy to extract. The 'introduction to pathology' mainly consist of a number of well-selected and illustrated examples of the clinical relevance of the histological nuts and bolts described in the text. There are more of them and with more detail than usually - but they don't make the book an introductory pathology text - so, don't be deterred or tempted by the subtitle.
The book is compact and the text is concise and to the point. The author's also published an atlas (see below), and it should not come as a suprise that the book is full of nice and well-sized illustations. By and large this is a book which should be suitable for most histology courses. But a few things irk me a little - although they may be a matter of taste. Many tables contain lots of fairly detailed information without it ever being said why one should know it - OK, maybe this is intended to give the book an "overhead of facts". Also, while browsing or looking up some detail I occasionally hit a dead-end. Something is mentioned, but very little is said about what it is good for or how it looks like. Lastly, some of the clinical examples only establish a very loose relation to the main text - Kierzenbaum's book (see above) is a good example of how it can be done better.
The third edition is an improvement over the second edition.
Introductory text have been slightly expanded and now contain separate sections
on the histophysiology of the tissues and organs. There is a bit more whitespace
and the colours of drawings are a little less aggressive, which makes it
easier to read and follow the text. I don't know if a spiral-bound version
was available previously - it's nice - the book stays open besides the microscope.
Finally, at least some pictures seem to have been through a gentle "digital
workout" and the colours are looking more true than before.
This book or similar books are not intended to be replacements for textbooks. Do yourself a favour and get a nice text. Piecing together a text from the figure legends requires a bit of work, although less with this edition than the previous edition.
The second edition of this book came quickly after the first one. The new edition has expanded on relations between histology and molecular biology - to a large extent based on illustrations from Kierzenbaum (see above) - and it has maintained a good connection of histology and macroscopic anatomy.
As may be expected from a middle-European book, it is detailed and well illustrated. In particular the schematic drawings are clear and informative.
Each chapter is preceeded by a brief 'orientation', and concise tables summarise
the key contents of the text. Clinical correlations often focus on particular
histological aspects in the context of multiple diseases instead of introducing
a particular disease and its related histology. While the later approach
may be a little more interesting, the one chosen in the book effectively
demonstrates the importance of histology in the understanding
of a wide variety of diseases.
I don't understand why the publisher has not taken the opportunity of a new edition to correct the color cast in some of the photographs, which makes them look oldish and less useful than they could be.
This book has been written by someone who knows and likes what he is talking about and who likes to talk about it. It maintains a now rare "storybook-bedtime-reading" quality of earlier editions. You can start reading a chapter just for the fun of it, and by the end of the chapter, you have a fairly good understanding of what you have been reading. Also, there are no tables in the text - if things are found worthwhile including in the book, they are also found worthwhile to be explained in their proper context. It contains sections on the clinical relevance of materials presented in the main text, in-depth sections, questions for self testing, and it suggests further readings (most suggestions are to mid- to late-nineties literature).
Believing that anatomy and histology are important for the understanding of human diseases is different from knowing it. Looking at the illustrations of pretty much any pathology text (~one third histology, ~one third anatomy, ~one third others) is a convincing exercise. I picked this text because of the quality of its illustrations, the clear organization of the text and, last but certainly not least, because of the "gentle" introductions to most chapters which briefly revise many of the normal tissue and organ features.
I got the book book by Janeway and colleagues for the revision of the pages on lymphoid organs and tissues. No being an immunobiologist myself, it was picked for the same reasons as the pathology book: good relations to histology, nice illustrations and .... an understandable text. Well, that's what I thought. A few weeks later I found the book by Abbas and colleagues on special and couldn't pass it up. As far as readability goes, I had reconciled myself with the idea that it would always be hard to make sense out of books on the immunsystem and, in relative terms, Immunobiology is good. But ... an hour after starting to browse in my bargain, I was ammazed to have a pretty good idea of the importance of cell types in innate and adaptive immunity and the difference between the classical and alternative pathways in complement activation and looked forward to have more time to read Cellular and Molecular Immunology . Thumbs up for this one - a pleasure to read.
Ouch - my budget! This one does not come cheap, but it's still really good value for the money. A comprehensive text which includes embryology, anatomy, histology and neuroanatomy at levels which are not only good enough to replace most other texts, but which actually go (sometimes far) beyond classroom material. Gray's is the anatomical GOLD STANDARD in English speaking countries. The 39th editionis a major improvement. First, it comes bound the way a book of this size (and price) deserves. Second, where it makes sense and reflecting clinical use, the book is organized topographically and no longer systematically. Last but not least, text and illustrations have been improved.
Understanding the embryology of a system usually helps to understand its anatomy and often also its histology.
Whenever I couldn't find something relating to morphology in my own books, I borrowed earlier editions of this book from my colleagues. Usually I found what I needed. The book had its "prime time" with the introduction of electron microscopy, which is still it's main strength. There are very few colour images and the mode of presentation shows its age. It's a great book nevertheless and still one of the classical histology references.
This book is now in its 4th edition, which I have not seen yet. The 3rd edition is a fairly concise and comprehensive text on histology combined with good figures. There was not as much emphasis on cell and molecular biology as in a number of more recent books, which should increase its shelf-life as a second-hand in courses which emphasise the structural aspects of histology.
It's an old book - the sleeves on my copy say it was reprinted in 1972. It's old but neat. The entire book is based on hand drawn illustrations. It not great artistry, but very solid work. Some of the drawings are actually more helpful than "up-to-date-style" color photographs. It's the type of pictures YOU could do if you really wanted to. Pictures which illustrate how the orientation of the section plane effects what you see in the microscope are very helpful. If you run across this book secondhand at a reasonable price then grab it. I have seen advertisements for an 8th edition but not the book itself. The book is apparently still based on drawings. The price is quite hefty.
There are more recent editions of this classic out. You will find a copy on many book shelves in the offices of your lecturers. If you have a copy yourself, you will also recognize many of the illustrations in this book in the form of overheads or slides in lectures. It can be highly recommended as a general resource and will be useful throughout a medical or science course.
page content and construction: Lutz Slomianka
last updated: 6/08/09