Offers insight into healthcare practices, identifying the cellular sources of aging and illness and revealing that aggressive treatments provide an illusion of control and survivability at the cost of life quality.
With a scientist’s keen eye, Ehrenreich precisely explains the intricacies of the immune system. She’s equally at home in other disciplines, too, moving seamlessly from biology and philosophy to history and poetry. Her book is richly layered with evidence, stories and quotations from all of these disciplines and sprinkled with barbed humor. Ehrenreich lets nobody off the hook, skewering Silicon Valley meditators and misogynist obstetricians with equal vigor.
You can’t begrudge Ehrenreich her effort to assuage our and her own fears about mortality, even if her historical chapters sometimes read like freshman surveys ... Ehrenreich should know better than to dress up her dislike of doctors as a reasoned excuse to avoid them. To be sure, she cautions, none of what she says 'should be construed as an attack on the notion of scientific medicine.' But actions outweigh words, and her example could lead some readers astray. Doctors do more good than harm. So do nurses. They’d do even more good if more people had access to them. The more than 27 million Americans without health insurance would surely be glad to have the checkups and colonoscopies that Ehrenreich has chosen to forgo. Let us age with grace, but let us not spread the plague of distrust by tarnishing a group of men and women who do what they can for those they can reach, and under increasingly difficult conditions. So here’s my advice, for what it’s worth. Don’t take this book too seriously. It could be harmful to your health.
Her new book is blunt: Nothing in modern life prepares us for the leaving of it ... The wellness movement, as you might imagine, doesn’t stand a chance. She fillets it with ease and relish—revealing the paucity of research supporting the usefulness of everything from annual physical exams to meditation—and dismantles nostrums about the innate balance and wisdom of the body ... Natural Causes is peevish, tender and deeply, distinctively odd—and often redeemed by its oddness.