Comprehensible, practical advice that shuns yo-yo dieting and exhaustive exercise regimens for a more lenient lifestyle in...

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THE OBESITY PARADOX

WHEN THINNER MEANS SICKER AND HEAVIER MEANS HEALTHIER

New insights into the pros and cons of body fat.

Although no one can stop aging, numerous diets and exercise programs insist they can aid you in obtaining a perfect, thin body. In this easy-to-understand, well-researched analysis of body fat and the functions it plays in humans, cardiologist Lavie, with the assistance of Loberg (co-author: Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain's Silent Killers, 2013, etc.), opens the door to a new understanding of optimum weight and health. After examining the dangers of excess body fat—e.g., an increased strain on the heart, leading to high blood pressure, possible strokes and high cholesterol—Lavie lays out the positives of having a few extra pounds. Numerous scientific studies show that being metabolically fit despite extra weight is actually healthier, leading to a longer life span than a thinner person who looks healthy but may have hidden health risks. Unlike overweight people, who have ample reserves in their fat cells, there's no cushion for a thin person to fall back on when illness strikes or when an accident occurs. The key is to balance body fat with moderate physical fitness. "Maintaining fitness is good and maintaining a healthy metabolism is good, and if you had to choose between fitness and thinness, it looks like it's much more important to maintain your fitness than your svelte waistline,” writes the author. “Fitness appears to be a lot more protective than a low weight." After presenting the data, Lavie summarizes his explorations in ten principles that help readers absorb the notion that a few more pounds on the hips and thighs—good news for women—is actually beneficial and can lead to a longer life.

Comprehensible, practical advice that shuns yo-yo dieting and exhaustive exercise regimens for a more lenient lifestyle in which having some body fat is actually good for you.

Pub Date: April 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59463-244-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hudson Street/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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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An authoritative, engaging study of plant life, accessible to younger readers as well as adults.

THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF PLANTS

A neurobiologist reveals the interconnectedness of the natural world through stories of plant migration.

In this slim but well-packed book, Mancuso (Plant Science/Univ. of Florence; The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior, 2018, etc.) presents an illuminating and surprisingly lively study of plant life. He smoothly balances expansive historical exploration with recent scientific research through stories of how various plant species are capable of migrating to locations throughout the world by means of air, water, and even via animals. They often continue to thrive in spite of dire obstacles and environments. One example is the response of plants following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Three decades later, the abandoned “Exclusion Zone” is now entirely covered by an enormous assortment of thriving plants. Mancuso also tracks the journeys of several species that might be regarded as invasive. “Why…do we insist on labeling as ‘invasive’ all those plants that, with great success, have managed to occupy new territories?” asks the author. “On a closer look, the invasive plants of today are the native flora of the future, just as the invasive species of the past are a fundamental part of our ecosystem today.” Throughout, Mancuso persuasively articulates why an understanding and appreciation of how nature is interconnected is vital to the future of our planet. “In nature everything is connected,” he writes. “This simple law that humans don’t seem to understand has a corollary: the extinction of a species, besides being a calamity in and of itself, has unforeseeable consequences for the system to which the species belongs.” The book is not without flaws. The loosely imagined watercolor renderings are vague and fail to effectively complement Mancuso’s richly descriptive prose or satisfy readers’ curiosity. Even without actual photos and maps, it would have been beneficial to readers to include more finely detailed plant and map renderings.

An authoritative, engaging study of plant life, accessible to younger readers as well as adults.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63542-991-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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