Practical health information fortified with exciting news from the forefront of modern medical technology.

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THE LUCKY YEARS

HOW TO THRIVE IN THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF HEALTH

A pioneering oncologist explores the latest advancements in general medicine.

In previous volumes, Agus (Medicine and Engineering/Univ. of Southern California; A Short Guide to a Long Life, 2014, etc.) offered useful, accessible health tips for attaining prime physical health. Here, he expands on that platform by addressing readers from a futuristic vantage point and insightfully discusses how recent technological trends have the ability to boost both the medical industry’s ability to effectively treat patients and its public perception, something that has incrementally declined through the last decade. The author’s praise for the legacy of Canadian physician Sir William Osler and his hands-on bedside clinical training approach reminds readers of the importance of making a personal, interactive investment in wellness. At its bare-bones minimum, the book reiterates the enduring importance of quality sleep, sex, and touch, though more enterprising readers interested in breakthrough clinical developments will find Agus’ explorations of gene therapy, immunotherapy, and revolutionary stem cell research highly informative. The author advocates for greater oversight of these technologies by the medical community to avoid careless errors or misuse. He implores those reluctant to embrace newer medical technology to become “comfortable with gadgetry and terminology” since these enhancements can greatly improve quality of life. Rejecting the “one-size-fits-all” generalization of health recommendations today, Agus takes a progressive stance on the subject of customized, precision medicine, though he concurrently acknowledges its perils. He encourages readers to embark on a two-week challenge to track and identify the habits and patterns that may enhance the quest for ideal healthfulness. A section examining the gluten debate is particularly eye-opening, as are opinions on what Agus considers the biased and flawed nature of most medical studies and the hoax of anti-aging gimmickry. The author fully supports the “lucky years” of medical innovation, yet he views this era as a “privilege of the prepared and the knowledgeable”; everyone must remain mindful of their overall well-being.

Practical health information fortified with exciting news from the forefront of modern medical technology.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1210-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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 absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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