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Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, often called simply The Merck Manual, is the world's best-selling medical textbook. First published in 1899, it is now in its 18th (2006) edition.

The Merck Manual is recommended by librarians in standard references such as the "Brandon/Hill selected list of books and journals for the small medical library"[1], published by the Medical Library Association. It is also one of the cheapest medical textbooks on the Brandon/Hill list.

The Merck Manual is published by Merck & Co., Inc. but created by an independent editorial board and peer reviewers. In addition to the hard-cover edition, the full text is available free on-line.[2]

The Merck Manual is organized, like most internal medicine textbooks, into organ systems, such as heart, lungs, gastrointestinal system, muscular system, etc., dealing with each major disease of that system in turn, in the standard format of diagnosis (symptoms), prognosis and treatment. It condenses all of medical knowledge into 2992 pages, by emphasizing practical information of use to a practicing physician (in contrast to other internal medicine textbooks, like Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, which also discuss the mechanisms of disease), and by not giving bibliographic citations.

One of the controversial and often-quoted chapters was on Marijuana (Cannabis), which concludes that "Critics of marijuana cite much scientific data regarding adverse effects, but most of the claims regarding severe biologic impact are unsubstantiated."

The chapter on Gender Identity Disorder and Transsexualism advises that the term "disorder" in this context should not be interpreted as "judgmental" and states that "Treatment is aimed at helping patients adapt rather than trying to dissuade them from their identity."

The Home Edition

In 1997, it was re-edited in a consumer edition, The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home Edition, and a second revised edition was published in 2003. In addition to the hard-cover and several paperback editions, the full text is also available free on-line.[3] The Home Edition includes the full content of the Professional edition, except for details of tests, drug doses, and technical information of interest only to doctors. It uses lay terms, with medical terms in parenthesis, because patients often want to learn medical terminology for further reading. Each chapter begins with an illustrated lay description of the normal functioning of the organ system. Unlike most patient material, The Merck Manual--Home Edition gives the poor prognosis and sometimes survival statistics of incurable and fatal diseases like lung cancer.

See also


    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Merck_Manual_of_Diagnosis_and_Therapy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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