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Book Review Nonlinear Computer Modeling of Chemical and Biochemical Data. By J. F. Rusling and T. F. Kumosinski

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BOOKS
Nonlinear Computer Modeling of
Chemical and Biochemical Data. By
J. E: Rusling and I: F. Kurnosinski.
Academic Press, San Diego, 1996.
268 pp., hardcover $64.95.-ISBN
0-12-6044-90-2
With the increasing capabilities of modern computers, the digital storing of experimental data has become part of normal everyday practice. It is also increasingly common
for the processing
of the data to be
carried out using
commercial
software. However, one
is usually not so
well served when
nonlinear processes
have to be analyzed.
Tasks of this kind
require not only suitable procedures for
modeling complex processes but also,
most importantly, nonlinear regression
methods.
Up to now chemists have only been
concerned marginally with these problems. It is therefore a welcome develop
nient that two authors with many years of
experience in the area of chemometry
have set out to explain the principles of
nonlinear regression analysis in this form.
The book is intended as an introduction
for advanced students of chemistry as well
as practicing chemists, with many examples to illustrate the wide variety of applications.
The authors begin by explaining the basic principles of linear regression analysis
in a clear and didactic style, then from this
groundwork they move on to nonlinear
regression and describe the methods of
calculation. However, since only 70 pages
(out of a total of about 270 pp.) have been
allowed for this first part, there is insufficient space to go into much detail. Moreover, the fragments of computer programs that are given in the margin are not
enough to enable the reader with little
computing experience to create programs
for processing his or her own experimental data. Nevertheless, the information
provided is very helpful for understanding
regression calculations, and will certainly
enable the reader to evaluate their usefulness.
The limitation of the theoretical treatment is counterbalanced in the second
part of the book by a wealth of practical
examples from the authors’ own field of
research. The results described and the related discussion show the reader how the
raw data obtained by modern instrumenAngew. Chenr. Ini. Ed. EngI. 1997, 36. No. 4
tal methods can be used to yield reliable
information about the parameters of the
systems being studied. The experimental
methods in the examples range from
NMR and IR spectroscopy through electrochemical analysis to chromatography
and other analytical techniques. With the
exception of the electrochemical investigations, the main emphasis is on applications to biochemical problems. However,
most of these involve principles that one
could easily adapt for use in other areas of
chemistry.
In the discussions of the examples it is
not always made clear that the first step in
analyzing any set of data must be to develop a model for the experiment. This stage
is especially laborious when the experiment is of a kind that can oiily be described by a digital simulation rather than
by an analytical approach. If the quality
of the simulation is not good enough, the
regression calculation cannot yield a reliable result.
The book should encourage readers to
become involved in the complex field of
chemometrics. It will be useful for everyone who needs to interpret experimental
data and wishes to gain a background
knowledge of data-processing methods.
However, the authors have not fully succeeded in their aim of enabling the reader
to develop models and programs independently.
Jiirgen Heinze
Institut fur Physikalische Chemie
der Universitat Freiburg (Germany)
Understanding Medications. What the
Label Doesn’t Tell You. By A . Burger.
American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1995. 206 pp., hardcover
!$39.95.-ISBN 0-8412-3210-5
Alfred Burger, one of the founders of
the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and
its editor for many years, has written this
book for “. . .people who are better educated and more alert to innovations than
the average men or women of any
age.. .”. His aim was “ . . . t o satisfy and
stimulate the curiosity of educated lay
people who, on the whole, lack the biochemical and pharmacological background for the study of medicinal
agents”, and he has certainly achieved
that. In a fluent and readable style, while
also maintaining scientific soundness and
accuracy throughout, Burger leads his
readers through the many different aspects of the discovery and development of
various classes of drugs, some long-established and others only recently introduced, with special emphasis on the basis
C VCH Vrrlugsgesell.sschuft mhH. 0-69451 Weinhelm,i997
of their pharmacological activity. The
book begins with seven introductory
chapters (about 60 pp. altogether), which
summarize the history of medicines from
the earliest times to the present day, and
aspects of modern practice, under the following headings: “Drugs: Historical Beginnings”; “Early Modern Medicines” ;
“Naming Drugs”; “Biomedical Research”; “Modern Drug Discovery and
Development” ; “Molecular Modification
of Prototype Drugs”; “Drug Use and
Abuse”. Using this background of basic
information, the author then discusses
various types of drugs, classified according to their purpose and mode of action.
The 12 chapters (about 120 pp. altogether) are: “Neurohormones and Drugs that
Affect the Central Nervous System”;
“Drugs for the Relief of Pain”; “Local
Anaesthetics, Antispasmodics, and Antihistamines”; “Drugs that Act on the
Blood Pressure and the Heart”; “Intestinal Tract Medications”; “Hormones and
Vitamins”; “Drugs for the Treatment of
Cancer”; “Drugs Affecting the Immune
Response”; “Drugs for Infectious Diseases”; “Antiparasitic Drugs”; “Antiviral
Drugs”; “Antiseptics and Disinfectants”.
The book ends with a short chapter on
“Computer Assistance in Medicinal Research” and a brief look at likely future
developments under the heading “What’s
Next”.
Burger explains the relevant facts of
medicinal chemistry, its successes, and its
future tasks in a way that is understandable by the educated lay person with an
interest in the subject. Without using an
undue amount of technical language, he
explains how and why the various types of
medications, many of which have long
been familiar, produce their effects, and
describes the physiological processes that
are affected and what happens when the
agents are administered. The information
is skillfully interwoven with interesting
historical facts and anecdotes, so that the
whole makes easy and enjoyable reading.
It is only rarely that the reader is overburdened with specialist language, and in
such cases the glossary of terms in the
form of an appendix is a useful aid. Although the “educated lay person” referred to by the author does not need to
have a considerable background knowledge of biochemistry or pharmacology, a
good secondary school education or its
equivalent is a prerequisite for being able
to follow the discussions without difficulty. Anyone with this minimum background will read the book with enjoyment
and sustained interest. Burger does not attempt to give answers to the question that
is so often asked, with unconcealed mis0570-0K33197i3604-04iS $15.00+ .25/0
41 5
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