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The principal goal of the pathology course in medical schools is to foster understanding of the mechanisms of disease (pathogenesis) as a foundation for dealing with a vast amount of clinical information the student will encounter in later clinical years. Important lesser goals are to teach students how to use the laboratory and to help them pass the examinations necessary to earn a medical degree, including the various Boards.

This book addresses these goals. In developing it, we have endeavored to present information at the level of the second-year medical student, guiding the reader logically and as concisely as possible through the mechanisms by which the normal in our bodies is converted to the abnormal. Because our objective is to use pathology to facilitate medical education, we stress mechanisms leading to diseases rather than the morphologic alterations used by pathologists to make pathologic diagnoses. Understanding these mechanisms is more a function of logic than of memory. We hope this book will leave students with a lasting knowledge of pathology and a desire to use pathology for the rest of their career as the scientific basis of the "art" of medicine.


The study of pathology is traditionally divided into general and systemic pathology, and we preserve this distinction.

In the general pathology chapters (Part A), the pathologic changes occurring in a hypothetic tissue are considered. This idealized tissue is composed of parenchymal cells and interstitial connective tissue and is the prototype of every tissue in the body. General pathology explores and explains the development of basic pathologic mechanisms without detailing the additional specific changes occurring in different organs.

In the systemic pathology chapters (Part B), the pathologic mechanisms discussed in the general pathology section are related to the various organ systems. In each system, normal structure, function, and the symptoms and signs that arise from pathologic changes are discussed first. The diseases in each organ system are then considered, with emphasis given to those that are more common, so that the student can become familiar with most of the important diseases encountered in clinical practice.

We have divided this book into sections that cover a broad topic, eg, the endocrine system. Each section is divided into chapters, eg, pituitary gland, thyroid gland.


We have aimed to make this book as easy to study from as we believe is possible for a textbook of pathology. We have paid special attention to the following features that facilitate achievement of these objectives:
•The chapters are—with few exceptions—short enough to be assimilated in a reasonable length of time, enabling the student to set easily achievable goals.
•The text is concise. We have tried our best to use the minimum number of words to impart the necessary information.
•The text is comprehensive. The student's needs are completely satisfied, both from the point of view of understanding the subject and of passing examinations.
•The text is logical. We have presented the material in a logical sequence wherever possible. When doubt or controversy exists, we have indicated this clearly.
•The illustrations and tables are extensive and designed to visually reinforce the text in the more important areas.
•The identification and localization of human genes occurs almost daily due to continuing advances in molecular technology and the progress of the Human Genome Project. We have incorporated this molecular pathology information into the text when it is pertinent and when the mechanisms of pathogenic action are sufficently clear as to contribute to the overall understanding of the disease process.
•The text stresses clinical correlations and aims to give the student an understanding of disease mechanisms via pathology. The pathologic details used by pathologists in making diagnoses are included only to the extent that they enhance the understanding of disease processes; otherwise, such minutiae are deferred to the pathology residency program, which is their proper place.


Original illustrations in this book are the work of Biomed Arts Associates, Inc., San Francisco, and in particular the following individuals: Laurel V. Schaubert, Susan Taft, Walter Denn, Gay Giannini, Ward Ruth, Hisako Moriyama, Michael Yeung, Terrence Schoop, Kenneth Rice, and Wendy Hiller. Electronic versions were provided by HRS Electronic Text Management.

Parakrama Chandrasoma, MD, MRCP(UK)
Clive R. Taylor, MD, DPhil, FRCPath, MRCP(Ir)
Los Angeles
August, 1997

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