Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 21st edition


January 09, 2001


It is indeed timely that the new 21st edition of the Cecil Textbook of Medicine, a truly outstanding masterpiece, has been published on the dawn of the 21st century and new millennium. The first edition, published nearly 75 years ago, was written to serve as an authoritative information source for students, faculty, practitioners, researchers, and healthcare providers. Numerous editions to update content and bring new medical information to readers followed this initial work. Over the years, the book grew in popularity, stature, and demand. It changed from a collaborative work inspired by great visionaries, such as Drs. Cecil and Loeb, to an immense work with more than 460 highly recognized contributing editors and authors.

Today, the new Cecil Textbook of Medicine celebrates a new era in medicine. The new edition covers a multitude of medical advances and exciting changes occurring in the practice of medicine as a result of revolutionary discoveries in human genetics, molecular and cellular biology, cancer research, pharmaceuticals, imaging technologies, and scientific laboratory bench experiments. Despite current advances and changes influencing the practice of medicine described in this edition, the book still manages to preserve the best of the past with timely updates on the ethics, values, social, and behavioral aspects of medical practice. It provides an excellent review and guidance to healthcare providers on their responsibility to assure quality care.

Critical to this new era of medicine is the concept of evidence-based medicine and the search for finite knowledge aided by the phenomenal advances in information technology that can influence clinical decision making and improve healthcare delivery. An obvious trend in medicine of the 21st century is the voracious search for the latest modalities of treatment for patient care. Recognizing how critical new scientific discoveries are in the practice of medicine, some of the chapter authors have included pertinent Web sites that direct readers to additional and more current information. New advances in diagnostics and therapeutics, studies of pathophysiology and epidemiology, and discoveries in molecular biology evident throughout the book on common and well known diseases are also observed in the coverage of new diseases such as HIV and AIDS, infectious diseases, protozoan diseases, abuse, and addictions to alcohol and drugs. While not specifically elaborated, it is evident to this reader that the authors' noble goals of raising the levels of standards of care by bringing the latest knowledge to practitioners at the patient's bedside has been achieved through use of information technology.