Genetics in Anesthesiology Syndromes and Science. By Guy L. Weinberg. Woburn, MA, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996. Pages: 222. Cost:$75.00.

Genetics in Anesthesiology is a hardbound, 222-page book containing two main parts. Part I contains two sections covering introductions to clinical and molecular genetics, and the other two sections cover genetics in the operating room and in anesthesia research. The review of clinical genetics is brief, yet informative for modes of inheritance involving chromosome abnormalities, single gene disorders, mitochondrial inheritance, and somatic mutations. Similarly, the principles of clinical genetics section provide concise descriptions of relations between genotype and phenotype, with examples of current methods. Written for the anesthesiologist and not the clinical geneticist, the reader is spared nonessential details, yet provided with the basis for understanding how this discipline is approached. Section II of part I is an excellent synopsis of molecular genetics covering the key elements of this discipline and expressing it in a manner understandable by those not educated in this field. Simple, understandable diagrams are used to compliment the text for an understanding of this complex and rapidly advancing field. For example, the gene's structural elements and their involvement in gene expression, transcription, and translation are illustrated and described so that the uninformed can understand. Similar, simple diagrams and easy-to-read text help the reader understand the methods and applications of recombinant technology and gene cloning and mapping. Section III addresses genetics in the operating room, providing a brief, systematic approach to the evaluation of patients with a genetic disease and the organ systems that may be affected. Section IV provides a synopsis of genetics in anesthesia research, illustrating the use of animal models to produce mutations and then measure the effect of a site-specific mutation on response to anesthetic agents. Part I is an excellent basic principles prelude to the more clinically applicable Part II, in which 25 “benchmark” diseases are selected on the basis of relevance to anesthesia, illustration of genetic principles, and having common occurrence. Each genetic disease is presented with:(1) genetics and pathogenesis;(2) clinical features; and (3) anesthetic management. At the end of each section or disease entity, the author provides references and, in some instances, describes the reference material. This is a timely text and provides the anesthesiologist with an opportunity to come to grips with modern molecular biology and at the same time, have a resource for clinical management of patients with genetic disease.

Thomas E. Nelson, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Anesthesia

The Bowman Gray School of Medicine

Medical Center Blvd.; Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103