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We launch the seventh edition of Pathologic Basis of Disease with mixed emotions, excitement and enthusiasm, as we enter the new millennium, tempered by sadness over the loss of our dear colleagues Drs. Stanley Robbins and Ramzi Cotran. To acknowledge their immeasurable and everlasting contribution to this text, the book is now renamed Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease
This edition, like all previous ones, has been extensively revised, and some areas completely rewritten. Some of the more significant changes are as follows:
• Chapter 1 has been completely reorganized to include the entire spectrum of cellular responses to injury, from adaptations and sublethal injury to cell death. This was accomplished by combining the first two chapters of the sixth edition. We believe that this integrated and extensively revised chapter will allow a better understanding of cell injury, the most fundamental process in disease causation.
• Chapter 3 , covering tissue repair and wound healing, has been extensively revised to include new and exciting information in stem cell biology and the emerging field of regenerative medicine.
• Chapter 8 , dealing with infectious diseases, has been organized taxonomically with emphasis on mechanisms of tissue injury by different categories of infectious agents. While examples of infections by prototypic microorganisms have been retained, most of the organ-specific infectious diseases have been moved to later chapters where other diseases of the organ are described.
• Discussion of diabetes mellitus has been moved from the chapter on pancreatic diseases to the chapter on endocrine disorders, where it blends more logically with other hormonal diseases.
• Discussions of the lower urinary tract and the male genital system have been combined and grouped into a single chapter in recognition of the fact that there is overlap in diseases and diagnostic considerations.
• A new feature best described as “boxes” has been introduced in selected chapters. For boxes, we have selected topics at the cutting edge of science that are worthy of a more detailed presentation than is essential for a student textbook. In doing so, we hope that we have presented the excitement of the topic without encumbering the body of the text with details that may appear overwhelming to the beginning reader.
• The chapter on ocular diseases has been rewritten and reorganized to facilitate an understanding of ophthalmic pathology by the non-specialist.
• In addition to the revision and reorganization of the text, there have been significant changes in illustrations. Many new photographs and schematics have been added and a large number of the older “gems” have been enhanced by digital technology. Thus we hope that even the veterans of the Robbins Pathology titles who have seen many previous editions of the book will find the color illustrations more sparkling and fresh. Approximately 50 new pages of illustrations have been added.
In the 5 years since the previous edition, spectacular advances, including the completion of the human genome project, have occurred. Whenever appropriate we have blended the new discoveries into the discussion of pathogenesis and pathophysiology, yet never losing sight that the “state of the art” has little value if it does not enhance the understanding of disease mechanisms. As in the past, we have not avoided discussions of “unsolved” problems because of our belief that many who read the text might be encouraged to embark on a path of discovery. Despite the changes outlined above and extensive revisions, our goals remain essentially the same.
• To integrate into the discussion of pathologic processes and disorders the newest established information available—morphologic and molecular.
• To organize the presentations into logical and uniform approaches, thereby facilitating readability, comprehension, and learning.
• To maintain a reasonable size of the book, and yet to provide adequate discussion of the significant lesions, processes, and disorders, allotting space in proportion to their clinical and biologic importance.
• To place great emphasis on clarity of writing and good usage of language in the recognition that struggling to comprehend is time-consuming and wearisome and gets in the way of the learning process.
• To make this first and foremost a student text—used by students throughout their 4 years of medical school and into their residencies—but, at the same time, to provide sufficient detail and depth to meet the needs of more advanced readers.
We have been repeatedly told by the readers that one of the features they value most in this book is its up-to-dateness. We have strived to maintain such timeliness by providing references from recent literature, many published in 2003 and some from the early part of 2004. However, older classics have also been retained to provide original source material for advanced readers.
With this edition, we also move into the digital age: the text will be available online to those who own the print version. This online access gives the reader the ability to search across the entire text, bookmark passages, add personal notes, use PubMed to view references, and many other exciting features, including timely updates. In addition, included in the text is a CD-ROM of case studies, previously available separately as the Interactive Case Study Companion developed by one of us (VK) in collaboration with Herb Hagler, PhD, and Nancy Schneider, MD, PhD, at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. This will enhance and reinforce learning by challenging students to apply their knowledge in solving clinical cases. A virtual microscope feature enables the viewing of selected images at various powers.
This edition is also marked by the addition of two new “seasoned” coauthors. All three of us have reviewed, critiqued, and edited each chapter to ensure uniformity of style and flow that have been the hallmarks of the text. Together, we hope that we have succeeded in bringing to the reader the excitement of the study of disease mechanisms and the desire to learn more than what can be offered in any textbook.
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