Good ammunition for mandating sex- and gender-based differences in health professional education, research, and practice.

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SEX MATTERS

HOW MALE-CENTRIC MEDICINE ENDANGERS WOMEN'S HEALTH AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

A physician urges women to speak out against the abuses of “male-centric” models in medical research and practice.

As McGregor, who co-founded the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative, cogently shows, women’s and men’s bodies are different not only in their sex organs, but in all their cells, brains, and the ways in which they metabolize drugs and experience disease and treatments. From her job as an emergency department physician in an urban trauma center and her teaching and research experience, she has amassed ample data and cases to prove her point. A woman with vague chest pain, fatigue, and nausea may be seen as emotionally overwrought and prescribed an anti-anxiety drug rather than perceived as a potential heart attack patient because women don’t experience the crushing chest pain and left arm pain that men do. Unfortunately, writes the author, the anxiety diagnosis is all too often the “go-to” choice, on par with a dismissive, “it’s all in your head.” In the early chapters, McGregor cites older studies such as a hormone replacement therapy trial that showed that the post-menopausal use of female hormones raised serious blood-clotting risks rather than preventing heart disease. The author is to be commended for showing how medicine has long skewed male and harmed women. Especially spot-in are the later chapters on implicit bias, treatment of women of color, and issues affecting trans individuals. The author concludes with to-do lists, questions women can ask their providers, and suggestions for advocacy roles to raise awareness of the issues.

Good ammunition for mandating sex- and gender-based differences in health professional education, research, and practice.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7382-4676-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Hachette Go

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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