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Review of Saunders

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Saunders Electronic Atlas of Dermatology
Compiled by Brooke Jackson
W.B. Saunders Company
ISBN : 0-7216-6224-2
Cost: $275 personal/institutional

Review by Claire L. Haycox, M.D., Ph.D.
Dermatology Online Journal 4(1): 7


Unlike the CD-ROM's reviewed in this 'Media Review' section to date, this title does not have a companion print version. This electronic atlas is a compilation of clinical images drawn from Callen et al.: Color Atlas of Dermatology, histopathology photomicrographs from Murphy & Herzberg: Atlas of Dermatopathology, and accompanying disease definitions and lists of differential diagnoses from Arndt et al.: Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery: An Integrated Program in Dermatology. The atlas is divided up into thirteen main sections with headings such as 'What diseases cause blistering of the skin?', and 'What disorders change the structure of the dermis?'. Each section is then further subdivided into various diseases and conditions that fall into that category. Icons placed next to these subsection entries denote whether the entry contains a definition, a differential diagnosis table, and/or images. The images and the differential diagnosis tables are then further linked to their descriptions by another three icons: One indicating that the image consists of a line drawing, another that it is a pathology photomicrograph, and another indicating a clinical image. This system is more cumbersome to describe than it is to navigate. A few minutes with the disc and the accompanying one sheet case insert of instructions allowed me to access the information easily.

My copy of the disc definitely contained programming errors. Several times I got error messages for no apparent reason, and clicking on the icon for a clinical image of pediculosis capitis brought up a very nice image of condyloma acuminatum! Generally I felt that the quality of the clinical images was not as crisp as those I have viewed on other CD-ROMs. The inclusion of photomicrographs is a nice idea, but again the quality seemed inconsistent. Images of the coronoid lamellae of porokeratosis were superb, but a photomicrograph of Sweets' syndrome was so indistinct that there was no way to appreciate that the dermal infiltrate consisted predominantly of neutrophils.

I'm not exactly sure who the target audience of this product is. In my opinion it does not have enough reference value to justify the $275 investment to a practicing dermatologist. On the other hand, medical students don't really need to be burdened with the histopathology of unusual dermatologic conditions. Perhaps this product will therefore have the greatest utility as a visual learning tool for the dermatology residents where an institutional copy that a group of residents could share and refer to would be a nice addition to their library.

Cost* Number of
Habif yes yes $179 3000 yes
yes $295 1767 yes
Fitzpatrick yes yes $79 595 yes
Saunders yes yes $275 >2500 yes

Formulary Additional Features
Compared to print version
Habif yes yes yes yes yes
Rook yes

yes yes

Saunders yes yes


Tables: Comparison of Features of Dermatology CD-ROMs Reviewed in This and Earlier 'Media Review' Sections of Dermatology On-Line Journal. *(All costs quoted are for both personal and institutional purchases, exceptions are noted)
WB Saunders has declined to give the Journal permission to reproduce images of this product.
Art Huntley MD
Managing Editor

© 1998 Dermatology Online Journal