THE “ABORTION PILL”

RU-486--A WOMAN'S CHOICE

Dubbed the ``abortion pill'' by the media, and the ``death pill'' and a ``human pesticide'' by some of its opponents, RU-486 is, according to this thorough account by its developer, largely misunderstood. French endocrinologist Baulieu (Biochemistry/Paris-Sud) explains just about everything you ever wanted to know about RU- 486. It is, he says, a ``contragestive,'' operating in the middle ground between a contraceptive and a conventional abortion, able to counter gestation before pregnancy begins. He recounts the work that led to RU-486 and reveals the forces that have made its manufacturer, Roussel-Uclef, reluctant to market it (Baulieu receives no royalties from Roussel-Uclef on products resulting from his research). He clarifies what RU-486 does and how it does it, explaining step by step the procedure followed in France when a woman chooses this option. Baulieu also provides a quick survey of abortion laws and practices around the globe. Although he predicts that RU-486 will spread with relative ease to many industrialized countries, he is concerned about its reception in the US and the slowness of the World Health Organization to support its use in Third World countries. Essentially, Baulieu is an optimist, believing that the obstacles to RU-486 are irrational and will be overcome, that ``politics will give way to science.'' The final chapter considers the question of when human life begins and looks at some of the other possible medical uses for RU-486, while an appendix provides a brief lesson in the biochemistry of RU-486. A forceful and articulate argument for the reproductive freedom of women, and a clear presentation of how RU-486 can help to ensure safe exercise of that freedom. (Twenty-four b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-73816-X

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

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Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.

HEALING OUR VILLAGE

A SELF-CARE GUIDE TO DIABETES CONTROL

Self-help guide for diabetes sufferers, mostly in question-and-answer format, with an emphasis on helping racial and ethnic minority diabetics.

Coleman is a pharmacist with a doctorate in her specialty, Gavin a Ph.D. and M.D. Aside from acknowledgments and a foreword signed by Gavin alone, their voices and expertise are indistinguishable, offering lucid, simple solutions for diabetes patients. Gavin relates watching his great-grandmother endure debilitating pain as a result of diabetes while he visited her as a youngster. He remembers hearing adults mention that sugar killed her, and he wondered how something that tasted sweet could cause so much harm. As an adult, he realized that his great-grandmother's affliction could be controlled through treatment. The authors focus on Type 2 diabetes, the most common form in minority populations. An estimated 18.2 million Americans are diabetic, with perhaps 5 million unaware of their situation. About 11 percent of U.S. diabetics are African-American, and about 8 percent are Latino. The question-and-answer format begins with an overview section about diabetes, with an emphasis on risk factors. Section Two covers management of the disease, including nutrition, exercise, blood-testing, oral medications and insulin use. In addition, the authors continually recommend smoking cessation, as well as instructing patients on the readiness of self-treatment. Section Three explains the complications—high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease—that could arise if the condition remains untreated or treated ineffectively. The questions in all of the sections are worded simply, and the answers are usually free of medical jargon. Though the sudden shifts in tone and voice are occasionally jarring, the writing remains clear enough to distill the facts. The real downside here, though: patronizing, laughable illustrations that degrade the overall product.

Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2004

ISBN: 0-9746948-0-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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There's a clear and intelligent gadfly at work here, offering much food for thought through his outrage.

CANCER-GATE

HOW TO WIN THE LOSING CANCER WAR

An astute—and sadly revealing—collection of articles from the past 15 years covering a wide number of topics related to the state of cancer research in the United States.

While it's true that Epstein—a physician and professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine—is clearly distressed by the current situation regarding our nation's approach to seeking cures and causes of cancer, this is far from a screed or conspiracy theory. He and a small number of contributors explain clearly why they feel the cancer fight has been stymied from the beginning. Epstein suggests the elimination of two impediments immediately: blaming the victim and putting the emphasis on diagnosis and treatment instead of prevention. He further suggests that there ought to be a distance between research institutions and those who fund the research. Since that likely means state intervention, he would like to see that ideologically biased individuals are not put in positions of power, dispersing funds (as happened under the Reagan administration, with its closed-door sessions with industry executives); too often the economic and political strings are held by those with a conflict of interest, such as the makers of products with suspicions of carcinogenic properties, or those with a vested interest in selling drugs to cancer patients. He also suggests that groups like the American Cancer Society stop spending three-quarters of their massive annual outlay on administrative costs, and start working more closely with environmental and occupational groups. Finally, he addresses the potential threats from pre-menopausal mammography, and the food industry's use of growth hormones.

There's a clear and intelligent gadfly at work here, offering much food for thought through his outrage.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2005

ISBN: 0-89503-310-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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