PositiveBooklistOur knowledge about sleep has surged, but researchers still have miles to go before they can rest.
PositiveBooklistRaban illuminates the unpredictability of our memories. Frequently we invite them. Occasionally they just pop up. Sometimes we are helpless to suppress them.
RaveBooklistThis important and inimitable book is sometimes gloomy and tragic, always cautionary and sage.
PositiveBooklist\"Monosson commendably serves as a medical Paul Revere by persuasively warning us that dangerous fungi are already causing havoc among plants, animals, and humans, and more are on the way ... Monosson thoroughly reviews the wallop of fungi on wildlife, including white-nose syndrome wiping out bats and the demise of frog populations from chytridiomycosis. Many kinds of trees are threatened by fungus (white pine blister rust, cedar-apple rust). Even the beloved Cavendish banana, is endangered by an aggressive fungus (fusarium wilt). Pathogenic fungi are experts at surviving. They make formidable foes. Neglecting these emerging organisms is truly hazardous to health.\
RaveBooklistSearing ... Vaillant’s exploration of fire draws on physics and chemistry, philosophy and symbolism ... His robust and vivid writing, detailed reporting, and urgent concern for the environment make for sizzling reading.
PositiveBooklistFundamentally, MacPhail addresses our vulnerability, noting that deteriorating air quality, worsening climate change, and pervasive chemical products are undeniably harming human health.
Arline T. Geronimus
PositiveBooklistA persuasive hypothesis, enlightening biopsychosocial study of health inequities fostered by racism and classism, and an urgent call for compassion and social justice.
PositiveBooklistThrough observation and deduction, Gopnik grasps much about the meaning of mastery, its many sides, requirement of extensive practice, invention, and intuition, how it happens via a series of small steps, and flow. Gopnik’s unusual analysis of expertise and accomplishment includes his own charming moments and can-do attitude.
PositiveBooklistFear—of a novel virus, an oppressive government, and death—is the common denominator in this tragic account ... These stories of suffering, propaganda, and abolition of personal freedoms will inform, sadden, and enrage readers.
PositiveBooklistMcLaughlin’s distressing assessment of the plasma economy spotlights the value of the substance for patients, individuals in financial need who provide it, and big-business blood-traders who profit handsomely from it.
Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
PositiveBooklistA pensive survey of the evolution of exercise in America and a pessimistic view of our nation’s current fitness.
PositiveBooklist... an epic atomic odyssey ... He pays sharp attention to the history of science and how cognitive biases routinely sabotaged scientific discoveries. Chapters on plant life and photosynthesis are particularly captivating.
RaveBooklistAnd Finally offers a tender, at times apologetic account of a doctor-turned-patient whose chronic disease and awareness of the inevitability of death are compellingly navigated: first denial and anxiety, then acceptance and coping, ultimately gratitude for every moment gifted.
PositiveBooklistAn entertaining and pensive perusal of the human-wildlife conflict problem that calls to mind Mary Roach’s Fuzz (2021).
David G. Myers
PositiveBooklistEasy-to-understand ... While some may find Myers’ penchant for proverbs a wee bit wearisome, the complexity of human behavior never gets tiring.
PositiveBooklistRaphael delivers an eye-opening, cautionary study of the contemporary, amorphous meaning of \'wellness.\'
RaveBooklistA sort of biography of the virus and a masterful scientific detective story ... His writing can be chilling and ominous ... Demanding and essential.
PositiveBooklistInfidelity, self-deception, and the volatility of memory are on display; so are commiseration, grace, and connection.
RaveBooklist... a candid but anguished narrative ... Physician and first-time novelist DeForest goes all in on effect and energy here, less so on plot and denouement ... Underscoring the toll of medical training, the narrator comes clean on exhaustion, insecurity, futility, and the inescapability of death. Still she clutches empathy, truth, and hope. Brutal and brave, DeForest’s novel is one of the best in the \'making of a doctor\' genre. And its plucky protagonist, casualty and hero, roars a universal truth, \'We all hurt.\'
PositiveBooklistKnowledge of the heart’s function is now so basic that even elementary school children grasp it...But the road to understanding the workings of the heart, blood vessels, and circulation was difficult, long, and sometimes dangerous for investigators...Knitting together history, biography, and physiology, cardiologist Sethna reviews how scientific and medical advances were pitted against the oppressive forces of tradition and theology (particularly Catholicism)...There are some sluggish passages, but Sethna presents a useful and intriguing work of scientific history and appreciation of the arduous path to cardiac discovery.
Steven W Thrasher
RaveBooklist... exemplary ... The stories [Thrasher] recounts of affected individuals provoke anger, sympathy, and sometimes misty eyes ... A compelling and compassionate analysis of health disparities that delivers both wake-up call and gut-punch.
RaveBooklistThe menagerie of critters and their unique perceptual abilities Yong examines here include the platypus with a bill that detects electric fields, sand scorpions that rely on surface vibrations to hunt prey, the echolocation prowess of bats and dolphins, the ultrafast vision of killer flies, and the outstanding olfaction of elephants...The facts are frequently astonishing...Yong worries about humanity’s \'ecological sins,\' as sensory pollution—noise, night lighting, chemicals—is ubiquitous...Yong’s scientific curiosity and concern for the natural world are contagious...This is \'sense\'-ational reading.
PositiveBooklistCommendable ... Stirring stories of maimed soldiers and the compassionate hospital staff who cared for them enrich the narrative. Fitzharris vividly details mutilated faces and the savagery, suffering, and slaughter of war.
RaveBooklistIn this concise and lucid book, global health activist Gates reflects on the current COVID-19 pandemic, considers future ones, and renders several sensible recommendations for prevention ... Passionate but never preachy, Gates delivers an expert, well-reasoned, and robust appeal for the world to unite in averting upcoming pandemics.
RaveBooklistFisher starkly depicts the emergency department he toils in ... He recounts intense experiences treating all kinds of people and problems, shares his deep affection for the South Side of Chicago, and exposes the trouble with health care, especially high costs and racial inequities ... Sprinkled throughout his account of plugging away in the ER are letters he writes to patients and colleagues, presumably undelivered apologies, explanations, tirades, musings, and exercises in atonement.
PositiveBooklistThough at times repetitive...and stuffed with minutiae...Markoff’s telling of Brand’s strange and busy life is compelling—the book version of opening a time capsule filled with unexpected and one-of-a-kind items.
RaveBooklistPensive ... An affecting portrayal of how we view disease, experience illness, and search for healing.
PositiveBooklistStimulating ... Leschziner’s neuroscience inquiry raises the question of how we can know what is real when our senses are not always trustworthy.
RaveBooklist... educational and evocative ... [Singer\'s] discussions of victim-blaming and scapegoating, abuse of power and political failure, the impact of economic inequality and racism, and accountability and prevention are outstanding ... Singer offers sound and simple recommendations ... A brilliant and alarming analysis, imbued with empathy and appropriate rage, of a tragic, far-too-common problem.
Sara Manning Peskin
PositiveBooklistPeskin includes emotionally charged stories of patients with these conditions, illustrating the misery inflicted by these diseases on individuals and those who love them ... cognitive neurology, medical history, and clinical anecdotes are effectively enlisted in Peskin’s outlook for a bright future for the treatment of dementia and other brain disorders.
PositiveBooklistTantalizing subject matter sprouts up throughout: the internal compass, the reaction of brain waves to the Earth’s magnetic field, dead-reckoning ... Kemp also shares brief, strange, and sometimes sad stories of people who get lost. Finding our way is a basic necessity of life, yet it is mostly taken for granted. Kemp effectively explains just how complex and astonishing that task really is.
Carl Erik Fisher
PositiveBooklistA unique perspective on a frustrating, often devastating problem.
PositiveBooklistInfatuated by an obscure 1573 book advocating exercise, De Arte Gymnastica by physician-scholar Girolamo Mercuriale, Hayes devotes a tad too much page space to it. Otherwise, Hayes entertainingly describes his adventures in the world of fitness, learning how to box at a pugilists’ boot camp, swimming, running, and performing power yoga in a New York gym class. A brisk jaunt through the history of working out in Western civilization.
PositiveBooklistThe scientific study of ancient DNA preserved in extinct species and the possibility of de-extinction (employing biotech to bring back extinct species in the manner of Jurassic Park) make for truly fascinating reading. Employing just the right amount of paleontology, history, genomics, and archaeology, Shapiro warns that we stand on the precipice of fashioning a new, unnatural nature. The risk of messing up the future of other species and even the planet itself looms large.
PositiveBooklistDunn engagingly explains biogeography, inventive intelligence, and speedy evolutionary reaction to changing conditions. Many kinds of creatures are spotlighted in his discussion, including chemical-eating crust microbes, clever crows, and disease-carrying mosquitoes. One of two roads will lead to an increasingly warm and worrisome future. The better path requires conserving or at least mimicking natural ecosystems. The other will inevitably lead to mass extinction.
PositiveBooklistEsteemed biographer and historian Rhodes warmly portrays Wilson as an ambitious and accomplished biologist, a passionate and influential advocate for identifying all life forms and preserving half of Earth as natural habitat, and a prolific, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer ... Rhodes also illuminates Wilson’s insights into biodiversity, biophilia, altruism, and the nature of science ... Rhodes’ biography makes a fine companion to Wilson’s Tales from the Ant World (2020).
RaveBooklistTerrific ... Goulson writes with urgency and affection ... A thoughtful explanation of how the dramatic decline of insect species and numbers poses a dire threat to all life on earth.
PositiveBooklistSchutt covers the basic anatomy and physiology of the human heart and circulatory system and delves into comparative anatomy, revealing unique aspects of the cardiovascular systems of icefish, horseshoe crabs, earthworms, and bats, to name just a few ... This is an easy-to-read and fascinating look into the complexity and wonder of the heart in its many forms.
RaveBooklistMarkel masterfully demonstrates how temperaments, pettiness, and the pursuit of prestige can poison science. An illuminating and candid resetting of a pivotal moment in science, with characters who often cross the line between antagonist and protagonist.
RaveBooklist[O\'Sullivan] convincingly explains how psychological, cultural, and social factors give rise to symptoms and can produce disability. She provides a powerful perspective of functional neurological disorders ... This is a startling and empathetic investigation into the power of the mind, the contagiousness of fear, and the consequences of hopelessness.
RaveBooklistRoach writes splendidly about the often-surprising challenges inherent in coexisting with other animals in their natural habitats ... Intrepid, witty, and elucidating, best-selling Roach is an ongoing popular-science supernova.
PositiveBooklistStories—sprinkled with clinical and scientific observations, personal and philosophical musings—about challenging and peculiar patients are the core of this book ... Deisseroth overly emphasizes optogenetics, neuroscience research utilizing light to influence genetically changed neurons, but his pondering of any possible evolutionary role for mental illness is compelling, as is his elucidation of the emotional burden for healers who take on devastating psychiatric situations.
Jan Grue tr. B. L. Crook
PositiveBooklist... lyrical ... A gentle recollection of a life in which disability appears to be no match for tenacity.
Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley
PositiveBooklistQuarantine ... It\'s complicated nature is adeptly explored, including ethical concerns, legal and moral questions, and enforcement challenges ... Descriptions of the many ways mail has been disinfected (grilling, smoking, application of vinegar, processing through weird gadgets) in prior epidemics and lessons on infection-control behavior gleaned from social insects make for fascinating reading.
PositiveBooklistHooven, a biological anthropologist at Harvard, deftly details the tremendous impact of testosterone (\'T\') on \'our bodies, brains, and behavior in the service of reproduction\' ... Skepticism and, at times, hostility regarding some significant effects of T have surfaced. But Hooven effectively counters erroneous or misleading assertions about testosterone, a hormone so culturally familiar to most of us that it’s frequently designated by a single letter.
PositiveBooklistA witty, informative, and quirky consideration of this bodily fluid ... Everts also discusses sweat glands, perfume, sweat mimics employed in the textile and jewelry industries, monitoring perspiration for health purposes, and Botox injections to temporarily quell hyperhidrosis. She asserts that society needs to stop \'stigmatizing sweat.\' Perspiration is cooler than you’d ever imagine.
RaveLibrary Journal... a fascinating look at a key historical moment for free speech and women\'s rights in the U.S. ... It\'s an engaging, sensational history, made more so by Sohn\'s effective writing ... Both entertaining and informative, this volume will appeal to readers interested in feminism, freedom of speech and the press, and U.S. history in general.
PositiveBooklist... tender ... Now an octogenarian, Heinrich imparts wisdom accrued from an intense life. \'Every day is a potential disaster or an opportunity.\' An appealing account of a life spent observing and enjoying nature and frequently running within it.
PositiveBooklistMemorable, emotional, and even everyday anecdotes fill the pages ... Goldberg’s close-up look at inspiring, fast-tracked med-school graduates who became essential front-line pandemic physicians is bracing and invaluable. Still with lots to learn, these heroes already have so much to offer.
RaveBooklistGrief and guilt, anger and blame, fear and death permeate these pages. But there are also countless examples of hope, sacrifice, and heroic feats. Wright’s interviews with experts in virology, economics, public health, history, politics, and medicine are enlightening ... By far the best book yet on COVID-19, Wright’s chronicle offers a brutal lesson on the devastation that results when a pandemic is met with a lack of planning, mixed messages, and inept leadership.
Shanna H. Swan with Stacey Colino
RaveBooklistAccelerating problems with reproduction conjure frightful images of fertility-challenged future societies, such as the one depicted in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. A convincing plea for heightened awareness of rising reproductive jeopardy and the imperative of eliminating environmental toxins makes this book both alarming and crucial.
RaveBooklistZimmer diligently tackles the true definition of life ... Zimmer invites us to observe, ponder, and celebrate life’s exquisite diversity, nuances, and ultimate unity.
PositiveBooklistThe best part of this inquiry is the final third, a probe of the pervasiveness of self-deception in rituals, patriotism, and religion. The authors conclude that we are all vulnerable to falsehoods and myths not because we are simpletons, but rather because we are flawed and frightened beings. Welcoming our inner Pinocchio may just be prudent behavior.
PositiveBooklistSteele doesn’t consider the potential consequences of halting physiologic aging, particularly social and economic outcomes, making for an intriguing but overly optimistic forecast for the possibility of postponing age.
PositiveBooklist... science at its weirdest ... Schillace, editor of a British journal of medical humanities, artfully addresses such ethical issues as animal rights, how we define death, and playing God in the laboratory. In her unnerving chronicle of neuroscience experimentation, she also ponders notions of self and soul, hubris and horror.
Euan Angus Ashley
PositiveBooklistWhile the science is impressive and the health-care team devoted, the patients are the heroes ... Ashely discusses the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network, pharmacogenomics, superhuman mutations, precision medicine, and a molecular autopsy of heart tissue, offering a peek at the promise of genetic therapy now and in the near future.
RaveBooklist... fact-filled and alarming ... Smallpox, malaria, bubonic plague, polio, measles, AIDS, yellow fever, Ebola, and COVID-19 are featured.
RaveBooklist... brilliant ... wide-ranging ... As [Lieberman] demolishes common myths and exaggerations, his wit and wisdom are ever-present ... makes for captivating reading between workouts.
RaveBooklistFarmer’s writing can be distressing with nightmarish scenes involving repulsive sights and smells ... A challenging, consequential, and tragically timely book about the forces that sculpt epidemics and the necessity of compassion and altruism in caring for their victims.
PositiveBooklistMcGee elegantly explains olfaction ... Numerous tables summarize the molecular composition and source of odors of selected entities. Even with helpings of organic chemistry, this is a delightful outing across the olfactory world.
PositiveBooklistPediatrician Klass chronicles a somber history of child mortality and profiles the many individuals whose breakthroughs changed the tragic trajectory of infant and maternal death ... The book presents striking illustrations, including paintings, vintage photographs, and poster.
PositiveBooklistNPR correspondent Fessler chronicles the \'well-meaning but misguided effort to protect public health\' at the Louisiana Leper Home (later called Carville) that opened in 1894 ... Fessler presents inspiring and tragic stories of patients who mostly experienced Carville as a prison, sometimes a sanctuary. She also portrays activists and the devoted Catholic nun nurses who cared for the incarcerated population, one of whom, Sister Catherine Sullivan, shared her feeling about the leprosarium, \'Mercy is no substitute for justice.\' Heartbreaking and infuriating.
RaveBooklistWitty and wild, intrepid and inspirational, the book chronicles two parallel journeys: Fabes’ physical cycling tour of many countries and his look at health across the globe ... An entertaining and epic chronicle of a journey of extremes.
RaveBooklistIn this masterful work about mycology, biologist Sheldrake describes fungi as \'regenerators, recyclers, and networkers that stitch worlds together.\' The introduction, \'What Is It Like to Be a Fungus?\', brilliantly sets forth just how amazing and mostly out of sight fungi are ... Chapters address how fungi feed and grow, their partnership with plants, mycelial networks, lichens, mushrooms, symbiosis, and forest ecosystems ... A superb science book about a ubiquitous yet vastly underappreciated life form.
Daniel J. Levitin
PositiveBooklistLevitin supplies some background science and recommends many behavioral modifications that may increase healthspan, the length of life in which an individual enjoys good health ... His most sage suggestion, nestled at the end of the book, is timeless: \'Practice gratitude for what you have.\'
PositiveBooklistAt times a demanding scientific read, Grafton’s study is ultimately a thought-provoking examination of neuroscience delightfully informed by a transcendentalist plea for greater harmony with nature.
PositiveBooklistNatterson, a pediatrician, parent, and best-selling child-care author, provides a helpful guide for the care and handling of adolescent boys. Instructive chapters...effectively combine an understanding of pertinent male physiology with sound advice on good parenting ... Natterson...informatively discusses the teen brain, aggression, and sex ed ... Natterson...encourages parents to be readily available and supportive listeners. Honest and loving conversations are the key to navigating adolescence.
RaveBooklistMysterious and miraculous, the human body is more than a masterfully engineered biological machine. And Bryson serves as a delightful tour guide to nearly every component, protuberance, and crevice of it ... Bryson’s splendid stroll through human anatomy, physiology, evolution, and illness (diabetes, cancer, infections) is instructive, accessible, and entertaining.
Walter A. Brown
PositiveBooklistBlending medical history, psychopharmacology, and biography, psychiatrist Brown tells a tantalizing tale of a remarkably effective but underused medication ... A fascinating and valuable history.
RaveBooklistPreston poignantly details the human drama of a place on the precipice of devastation. The suffering portrayed is staggering. Descriptions of Ebola hospital wards and quarantine tents are often nightmarish. Yet acts of heroism and the high prevalence of altruism (especially among local nurses) are astounding ... Preston addresses issues of medical ethics and justice throughout, and the clash between superstition and science, duty and self-preservation are constantly in play. Medical thriller, cautionary tale, and a public health call-to-arms are all bundled together in this powerful read.
PositiveBooklistExplanations of physical phenomena (surface tension, viscosity) are accompanied by explorations of sticky tape, nitroglycerin, and quicksand. A wonderfully informative and revealing romance with liquids.
RaveBooklistAncient and intricate, highly effective and ever vigilant, your immune system is engaged in a perpetual biological balancing act, \'making trade-offs to keep the peace, to maintain homeostasis, to let the individual live as long as is practical.\' Richtel approaches this essential subject with awe, his writing meticulous and empathic.
PositiveBooklistArmstrong adeptly distills contemporary gerontology research ... Although a \'cure\' for aging remains unlikely, Armstrong’s deft discussion of the topic is invigorating.
PositiveBooklistAschwanden engagingly zooms in on the neglected topic of exercise recovery ... Slicing through all the fads and hoopla, Good to Go reinforces the absolute necessity of listening to and trusting your body.
Joshua D. Mezrich
PositiveBooklistSkillfully stitching medical memoir to medical history, transplant surgeon Mezrich ... [is]in awe of the anatomic beauty and physiologic brilliance of the organs that are transplanted—kidney, liver, heart, lung, and pancreas. He describes what a transplant operation looks like from the surgeon’s vantage ... Organ donors are the real heroes in Mezrich’s enlightening transplantation chronicle.
Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson
PositiveBooklistThe authors quash myths and misconceptions about the notion of meritocracy ... Although numerous charts and graphs interspersed throughout a heavily referenced discussion can make for a slow reading experience, the message is clear and critically important: embrace egalitarianism—for better health and quality of life.
PositiveBooklistThe clinical cases Morris has collected, creating what amounts to a medical version of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, are often intriguing, occasionally disgusting, sometimes tragic, but always weird ... Morris offers a most peculiar jaunt through medical history.
PositiveBooklistThe risks of tinkering with an intricate immune system are obviously high, even perilous. But the potential reward is a cure. Exciting reading.
Arnold van de Laar, Trans. by Andy Brown
RaveBooklist...These collected essays by van de Laar originally appeared in a Dutch journal of surgery ... Beyond his interesting review of surgical history, van de Laar also offers insight into the thought process and philosophy of those who cut to heal.
PositiveBooklistThe link between love and mental health is at the heart of this unusual study ... The 1961 song \'Love Makes the World Go ’Round\' surely has the right message. But these head-spinning tales of love gone wrong provide a murkier, threatening flip side.
RaveBooklistAn informative, elegant, and provocative exploration ...In the stellar opening chapter, she fuses her personal experience donating blood with remarkable hematologic facts ... George’s wondrously well-written work makes for bloody good reading!
Eric R. Kandel
PositiveBooklistEmphasizing advances in the fields of genetics, brain imaging, and animal research, Kandel writes about decision-making, sense of self, emotion, mood, addiction, and gender identity. The most important chapter focuses on the mystery of consciousness (How is it born from the biology and processes of the brain?). Another intriguing chapter looks at the connection between creativity and psychiatric disorders (illustrated with artwork by schizophrenic patients). No doubt neurons will be buzzing as readers contemplate Kandel’s thought-provoking book.
PositiveBooklist OnlineThe benefits of vaccines are colossal, and claims that they can cause autism are absolutely false. Roughly two centuries after the introduction of a vaccine for smallpox, that horrific contagion has been eradicated ... Immunologist Kinch reviews the history of various infectious diseases, how vaccines work and their efficacy, relevant biomedical research, and the personalities who played pivotal roles in this field. Adversaries of vaccination have their reasons (religious beliefs, vulnerability to propaganda), but science is not on their side. Vaccines don’t trigger autism, while pathogenic microbes and ignorance can wreak havoc and result in countless unnecessary deaths.
PositiveBooklistFrank does a solid job of profiling the controversial Heath and investigating how science is propelled and complicated by personality, ego, and ambition.
PositiveBooklistWeaving together the history of psychopharmacology and her personal experience as a patient, Slater (Playing House, 2013; Prozac Diary, 1998) offers readers a candid and compelling glimpse at life on psychiatric drugs and the science behind them ... Intriguing and instructive.