Series: Principles of Medical Biology

The present work in 25 modules is a successor to The Biological Basis of Medicine published by Academic Press in 1968. Its primary purpose is to fuse the basic medical disciplines with the pathophysiology and clinical medicine in a holistic manner, and hence lay securely the outlines of an integrated core curriculum. Although no attempt is made to cover the entire gamut of medicine, the range is large and not overcondensed. Considerable material deemed profitless or of little consequence to the practising physician is omitted. Our concern, however, is not merely with trimming pure and applied knowledge to a reasonable compass but also with its treatment and integration at three levels, namely, molecular, cellular, and organ system, while keeping reductionism to a minimum. This is an approach, which could, of course, be used to great advantage in both tutorial and lecture sessions.
Very early in our career we developed an interest in the problem of teaching medicine to entering students and came to the conclusion that the education model which stresses understanding (rather than parroting) and learning for oneself is not a curiosum. We also came to the conclusion that reform in medical education demands, by and large, a scheme of action that takes into account two key concepts. One is that a shift in responsibility from the teacher as the expert to the student as active learner is necessary. Another is that an integrated core curriculum calls for a knowledge base that would eliminate the dangerous misconception that only experts are able to competently teach the manifold disciplines that constitute modern medicine. Thus, the availability of these modules ought to greatly simplify the task of the student, as well as that of the tutor or lecturer. This now brings us to the question: How should progress be monitored? In a nutshell, the tutor assigns topics, and the student, in turn, assimilates and masters the subject matter, then initiates and conducts a discourse in a small-group setting, and finally, writes an essay. This procedure is followed at least once weekly. Thus, continuous assessment by the tutor of student initiative and performance is made possible.
There can be no quarrel with this education model. In fact, its many virtues have been expounded in the Harvard report thus: "New Pathway students preferred a self-directed learning environment, tended to memorise less and conceptualise for their own educational success, were likely to choose more patient-centered specialties, were more satisfied, stimulated and challenged than their classmates" (the control group). To prevent misunderstanding, we would like to say at once that this model of education can be adapted to tutorial groups of 15 to 20 students. Further, there is a good deal to be said for the adoption of a mixed system of lectures and tutorials in the early stages of reform and transition from a large to small group is a meaningful change in outlook and spirit is the first desideratum. Without change in spirit reform will avail us little.

Book Series: The Liver in Biology and Disease

Most recent volume

Volume 15. The Liver in Biology and Disease

Published: 31st December 2004 Series Volume Editor: Edward Bittar
The Liver in Biology and Disease was conceived as a sequel in the series Principles of Medical Biology, whose general aim continues to be the integration of human biology and molecular cell biology into modern molecular medicine. It is a volume molded by the Information Revolution which few will deny has forced the teaching faculties in our medical schools to curtail and prune the teaching load and focus on fundamentals and principles. With this intention in mind, a volume of this nature takes into account the close dependence of progress in the medical sciences on bioinformatics (gene and protein analysis) or more precisely, computational biology and of course, the Internet. In general, it follows the pattern of its predecessors.

Additional volumes

Volume 14. Biological Psychiatry

Published: 27th December 1999 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 13. Cell Injury

Published: 25th August 1998 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 12. Reproductive Endocrinology and Biology

Published: 27th July 1998 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 11. Development Biology

Published: 3rd June 1998 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 9A. Microbiology

Published: 16th February 1998 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 10. Molecular and Cell Endocrinology

Published: 16th February 1998 Series Volume Editors: E. Edward Bittar Neville Bittar

Volume 7. Membranes and Cell Signaling

Published: 12th May 1997 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 6. Immunobiology

Published: 17th December 1996 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 5. Molecular and Cellular Genetics

Published: 24th September 1996 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 4D. Cell Chemistry and Physiology: Part IV

Published: 21st June 1996 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 4C. Cell Chemistry and Physiology: Part III

Published: 17th June 1996 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 4B. Cell Chemistry and Physiology: Part II

Published: 14th May 1996 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 3. Cellular Organelles and the Extracellular Matrix

Published: 4th January 1996 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 4. Cell Chemistry and Physiology: Part I

Published: 4th January 1996 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 2. Cellular Organelles

Published: 8th December 1995 Editor: Edward Bittar

Volume 1. Evolutionary Biology

Published: 1st November 1994 Editor: Edward Bittar