“Patients are our best teachers.” That is the premise behind the book Case Studies in Allergic Disorders. The authors use case studies derived from patients at the clinical programs at Boston Children’s Hospital to teach students basic immunologic principles and concepts specific to allergic disorders. The cases range from common allergic disorders such as asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and allergic rhinitis (hay fever) to more rare conditions such as hypereosinophilic syndrome and eosinophilic esophagitis. The cases are all related to hypersensitivity reactions; the body responds to harmless substances as if they were harmful, resulting in immune system reactions.

Each of the 20 case studies begins with background information necessary for understanding the case presentation. Next, the authors present a case from a patient, starting with symptoms, detailing the diagnostic process, and ending with treatment and prognosis. Finally, the chapter concludes with a more detailed description of the condition, including the underlying cellular and molecular immune responses. Immune system cells, antibodies, and other chemical mediators of the conditions are detailed. Each case study includes a set of content-related and critical-thinking questions, as well. These questions allow the student to review important concepts and to apply the information learned from the study to related problems. In addition, an instructor’s resource website is available. The resources include PowerPoint and JPEG files of all images for the text, facilitating the use of the text in a variety of instructional settings.

The format of this book engages the student in the study of immunology. Case studies allow the student to see the real-life applications of the basic immunological concepts underlying allergic disorders. As such, Case Studies in Allergic Disorders can be used as a stand-alone text or as a complement to other immunology texts. It provides in-depth study of allergic mechanisms to students with a firm grasp of immunological concepts. Therefore, it is best suited for upper-level undergraduate or graduate students in immunology, medical students, or clinicians seeking additional training in immunology and allergic disorders.

ELIZABETH COWLES teaches freshman-level biology, biochemistry, and entomology at Eastern Connecticut State University. She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate college levels for over 20 years. Her interests include insect toxicology, protein characterization, and astrobiology. Cowles holds degrees in biology and biochemistry from Cornell University and Michigan State University. Her address is Department of Biology, ECSU, 83 Windham St., Willimantic, CT 06226; e-mail: cowlese@easternct.edu.