Public Release: 

Illustrated internal medicine book features UNC faculty, famous artwork

University of North Carolina Health Care

CHAPEL HILL -- For the first time in 15 years, busy and time-pressured doctors seeking the most current information on everyday medical problems have a solid alternative to the exhaustive and massive texts currently in use.

Now they can turn to "Netter's Internal Medicine," a practical and highly visual clinical guide covering the major diseases of specific medical specialties in 1,100 pages.

The artwork of the late Dr. Frank H. Netter, considered by many to be the foremost medical illustrator of the 20th century, illustrates the book's 152 chapters. Netter's works are found on the walls of doctor's offices, grade school bulletin boards, and in the textbooks of medical, nursing, dentistry and pharmacy students worldwide.

"Internists, both generalists and subspecialists, now must process a seemingly endless amount of information in their daily life to provide their patients with the best possible care," said the book's co-editor, Dr. Marschall S. Runge, professor and chairman in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine's department of medicine.

"This challenge is magnified by the demands of increasing patient volume and the attendant paperwork, which constrain the time to read."

The possibility of using Netter's artwork in a textbook of general internal medicine presented an opportunity to provide a useful, practical resource to making learning an easier process for clinicians, said Runge and co-editor Dr. M. Andrew Greganti, professor and vice chairman in UNC's department of medicine.

The textbook also provides an ongoing source for educating patients, they added.

Published by Icon Learning Systems, "Netter's Internal Medicine" is the first new internal medicine text in more than a decade. The book is designed to present key clinical information in an easy-to-use, quick-study format.

Runge and Greganti said they had wanted to avoid writing another exhaustive text that would only add to data overload, aiming instead to provide the essentials of clinical practice in a readable and understandable format.

This meant choosing to cover the most common clinical problems encountered by practicing internists and asking authors to provide sufficient detail for accurate diagnosis and selection of therapy, "along with insights into complex medical problems, in concise yet complete chapters that can be read and understood in a short period of time," said Greganti.

Given that charge, Runge and Greganti sought chapter authors from their UNC colleagues, primarily within the department of medicine.

"Thus, this is a text written by authors from diverse clinical departments in a single institution, a medical school well known nationally and internationally for its scholarly productivity both in research and clinical practice," Greganti said.

By taking advantage of Netter's illustrations, the editors said they learned an important lesson, "that thousands of words cannot describe what one of his plates depicts."

In each chapter, the plates are used to enhance the reader's understanding while serving as pictorial outlines of chapter content. In some cases, Netter's illustrations were revised to reflect the newest concepts in the field. Drs. John A. Craig and Carlos A.G. Machado created additional illustrations.

"Most practicing physicians have come to realize there is no single best way to 'keep up' and that the efficient use of time is key," Runge said.

"We believe we have created in 'Netter's Internal Medicine' a highly useful resource for all physicians, both generalists and subspecialists, who need to remain current in internal medicine - from the young to the old, from trainees to experienced practitioners."

Recently, Francine Netter Carlson, Netter's daughter, gave UNC an extensive collection of Netter's original sketches and research papers while also pledging endowed funds in her father's name to support the university's Health Sciences Library as part of the university's Carolina First campaign.

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By LESLIE H. LANG
UNC School of Medicine

Photo note: To view an image of the "Netter's Internal Medicine" cover, click on http://www.unc.edu/news/newsserv/pics/research/netter_book.jpg

Note: Contact Runge at 919-966-1328 or marschall_runge@med.unc.edu.

Contact Greganti at 919-966-3063 or gregandr@med.unc.edu.

School of Medicine contact: Les Lang, 919-843-9687 or llang@med.unc.edu

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