The human digestive system is a complicated, elegant network of tubes and organs. This encyclopedia does a wonderful job of offering insight as to how it functions when healthy, as well as when things go terribly wrong. In addition to the entries, the reader will find very helpful appendixes, including contact information for U.S and Canadian health departments and organizations, U.S and Canadian poison-control centers, and reliable Web sites for information regarding digestive diseases. The entries, however, are where the real value is. There are more than 300 of them, ranging in length from just a paragraph or two to multiple pages. They cover topics such as Acid blocking agents, Contaminated food or water, Crohn's disease, Obesity, Steroids, and Vitamin deficiencies. The discussion of various cancers related to the digestive system is 21 pages long and includes entries on diseases such as anal, colorectal, esophageal, and stomach cancer. Causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnoses, and courses of treatment are discussed. Many entries include bibliographic information, and cross-references are appropriately placed throughout the text. The index is very well developed and detailed. Public libraries of all sizes and academic libraries with consumer-health collections would benefit from having this volume. Densely packed with dependable information, it will be of value not only to the student but also to individuals who are taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle, as well as patients struggling to understand diagnoses and medicalspeak. -- From publisher description.