In writing for clinicians, it is difficult to know how much biochemical detail to present, and what basic knowledge of chemistry to assume. Generally in this book we have tried to give only enough chemistry to show the reader the structures of the various molecules considered and to follow the different chemical reaction sequences discussed. Reaction mechanisms as such have not been considered. Illustration devices such as shading have been used to allow the reader’s eye to follow the fates of relevant portions of molecules more easily, and to emphasize aspects of molecular structure which are pertinent in particular contexts. We have assumed relatively little background chemical knowledge on the part of the reader, though we realize this policy may irritate those chemically more sophisticated. For simplicity we have often not followed all the ramifications of a particular chemical reaction at the one time, but have concentrated on those aspects germane to the disturbance currently under discussion. However, we have attempted by cross-referencing to bring out the interrelations between the various reactions of the one molecule which can yield different chemical products and be responsible for different diseases. Thus it is hoped that material presented as individual chemical facets can later be synthesized by the reader into a biochemical overview.
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