Med Student in India : Ist Year Books Advice (#2)

In the previous post I wrote about gross anatomy books. In this post, I’ll talk about the other subjects within anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.

Anatomy – Related Subjects

Embryology

It is not very important in terms of weightage in exams but of most  importance among these 4 sub-subjects. For those who want to understand things and derive the pleasure from learning, this is “the” science. More about this my another article – “From Cell to Man” (Sorry, unavailable)

The books are: IB Singh: This is most widely followed. It is a decent book, it has good  diagrams and separation of matter into basic and advanced. Can be  read.

Langman’s Medical Embryology: This is a great book. It’s strength is its diagrams and photos. If you  are a visual learner then this is the book for you. As with other  books, it has many details which are unnecessary for undergraduates  which can be skipped. The text is very compact so could be a problem  for those who can’t easily frame their own sentences but since only a  few questions are asked in Embryology, this will be sufficient.

Another book is Keith Moore’s “The Developing Human” which looks  similar to Langman’s. It’s author is the same scientist Keith Moore  who discovered the Barr body along with Barr, Betram et al.

Histology

Histology is more important for practicals than for theory and diagrams are the most important. diFiore’s Atlas of Histology This can serve as both an atlas (for drawing in records) and also a  textbook because the text is in sufficient detail. It’s quite a good  book.

IB Singh This is followed by some as a textbook for histology. I don’t think  that is necessary. I can’t comment on the book because I never used  it.

Gunasegaran Don’t know much about this book. Saw it once and liked it. It is also both an atlas and text.

Neuroanatomy

This is taught at the end of the year, it’s basically the anatomy of the brain, along with spinal cord.

Any book can be followed. IB Singh was a bit annoying for me because  the matter isn’t properly organised. Chaurasia is not sufficient the  teachers say. Vishram Singh is a good and widely followed one and would be enough for both a basic understanding and making it through the exams. AK  Dutta is just too detailed. Snell’s Neuroanatomy is the recommended reference book.

Genetics

Don’t ask me about it. I don’t even know the names of books in this.  The weightage for exams is very less. It basically includes two  things- chromosome basics and their disorder syndromes. The syndromes  can also be found in Langman’s Embryology, the rest I managed from a few notes  given by our teachers.

Physiology

There are a lot of physiology books out there. I tried so many of them because  never found one that is perfect.

Guyton

This is the classic textbook followed widely throughout the world. It  is known for it’s simple language yet good explaination of concepts.  If you want to build concepts then this is for you.

Ganong

It’s text is lucid and compact. It is very good for a few topics like  nerve-muscle, cardiovascular etc but bad for some like endocrine.  Sometimes the author strays off into way too much of molecular detail.

Indian books

The Indian books are L Prakasam Reddy, Sembilingam, Chaudhari and AK  Jain. I found LPR most suitable as it had good explanation plus facts  for exams. So, I can say LPR is a little better than all of these. AK Jain was decent but I didn’t like it’s language.  Sembilingam and Chaudhari had so many mistakes that I could hardly  concentrate on what actually was the matter written.

Best & Taylor

This was highly recommended by our HOD as it apparently had a  “theoretical” and “conceptual” approach towards physiology. I heard a  lot of praise for the book and looked like just another textbook on reading one chapter :P. I searched all over the internet for an e-book but couldn’t find one, so a  physical book would be necessary.

In the end I would recommend reading LPR as the main book but at the same time referring  Guyton very very often.

Biochemistry

Vasudevan

I took this book in the starting because it was not as thick as the  other books and didn’t find any problem till the end. The author is an  MD from AIIMS (OMG! From AIIMS!!). I felt that he explains things very  well though I didn’t see other Indian books to compare. The only drawback about this book may be it’s small and irregularly placed diagrams.

Satyanarayana

This is the popular book. I didn’t read it so I can’t comment much  about the contents. Just saw it from friends and it looked good  enough, but it thickness wasn’t very encouraging for me 😉

Chatterjea & Shinde

It is a detailed book but I think it would be more suitable for  post-graduates rather than undergraduates.

Lippincott’s

The diagrams in this are beautiful. Almost everything has been  presented in diagrams. This may be an advantage or disadvantage. After  using this book for some time, I felt that I spent more time searching  for things in the diagrams than actually learning anything. It looks  very flashy and like they’ve done too much.

Harper’s

It is the standard reference book. Surprisingly, unlike other reference  books, it is very student friendly. It also has many diagrams which  are both good and minimalistic and not overdone like Lippincott’s. But  in case of both these Western books, there are a few topics missing  completely from these books but present in Indian books, which are  asked in exams (eg. Chemistries of biomolecules, Biotransformation  etc). So, these are best used only for reading metabolism and other  major topics.

A Final Word

Do not be overwhelmed by such an enormous choice of books, just find  one that suits you and read it. Different books may suit different  people. Don’t think that if I choose the wrong book then I’ll learn  nothing, because this is not a matter of choosing the right or wrong  book but choosing the most suitable book. And don’t worry, your own  experience will teach you much better than anything I’ve written.

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