A galvanizing call to arms against a gluten-heavy diet.

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GRAIN BRAIN

THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT WHEAT, CARBS, AND SUGAR—YOUR BRAIN'S SILENT KILLERS

"Gluten is our generation's tobacco," argues Perlmutter (Power Up Your Brain, 2012, etc.), whose credentials as a board-certified neurologist and American College of Nutrition Fellow make him a uniquely qualified voice in the debate about which foods are best for the brain and body.

Gluten, most commonly found in wheat products, plays a significant role in pernicious health issues relating to the brain. Bucking the mainstream notion that fat and cholesterol lead to poor health, the author proposes that the carbohydrate-laden foods that form the staple of many diets may cause brain problems as diverse as migraines, ADHD, Parkinson's, depression, anxiety and more. In addition, he provides ample evidence to suggest that diabetes, a disease already linked to the high sugar content of carbs, doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Gluten, not cholesterol, activates damaging chemical chain reactions which can result in inflammation and leave the brain and heart vulnerable to dysfunction and disease—even if an individual has no gastrointestinal sensitivity to gluten. Importantly, Perlmutter stresses that brain damage need not be permanent. A few simple lifestyle changes, he argues, can dramatically reduce the risk for debilitating brain diseases in the future, without the need for any kind of prescription medication. This "genetic reprogramming" is possible at any age, and its side effects include weight loss and increased energy levels in addition to brain health. Alongside numerous professional anecdotes detailing the successes of a diet without carbs but with omega-3 fats, the author provides abundant lists of "good" and "bad" foods, a 30-day plan of action that includes suggested meals, and a slate of gluten-free recipes.

A galvanizing call to arms against a gluten-heavy diet.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-23480-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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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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