Our discipline is young. When I began focusing on pediatric gastroenterology, in the early 1970s, there were no textbooks available. My training was based on the teaching of outstanding mentors (such as Salvatore Auricchio and Armido Rubino, to whom I will always be indebted), on eager clinical work and on tireless research; and reading of adult gastrointestinal textbooks that were regarded as the necessary theoretical fundaments of knowledge. Then the Silvermann, Roy and Cozzetto book (Pediatric Clinical Gastroenterology. St Louis, MO: Mosby, 1971) came along, somewhat officially identifying our field as a free-standing sub-specialty and heralding a new exciting era of educational tools directed at our discipline.
The knowledge then seems to have almost exploded, with technology rapidly introducing new investigative, diagnostic and therapeutic modalities; new acquisitions making old approaches quickly obsolete; and the sheer body of new information forcing us to become sub-sub-specialists. Hepatologists (now rightly even transplant hepatologists), endoscopists, neurogastro-enterologists and more 'ologists' have emerged and have gained or are gaining their cultural and operative independence.
In this scenario of ever-changing evolution, and in the Internet era, why another pediatric gastro-enterology and nutrition book? I believe the answer lies in the progressive globalization that the Internet has certainly catalyzed and that we see occurring before our eyes. We are living more and more in a true global village, where educational resources need not only to be scientifically correct and updated, but also able to offer, in a comprehensive, cohesive package, information that is also reflective of the different realities that gastroenterological and nutritional problems take on in different parts of the world. Intentionally, this book does not cover any liver-related disorder. Hepatology has become a discipline in its own right, and authoritative, specific books addressing only pediatric hepatology have already appeared and are available. We felt that focusing on the two intertwined areas of gastroenterology and nutrition would serve better the needs of the pediatric gastroenterologist. However, the book has a rather ambitious goal: that of having a global 'flavor'. It is in fact born out of a new vision of worldwide cooperation among pediatric gastroenterologists, which is embodied by the recently created Federation of the International Societies of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (FISPGHAN). I can only hope that its goal will be reached; certainly all the authors and I tried very hard. Happy Reading!
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