Conclusion: an unproven but undoubtedly provocative case. Expect dissent and discussion.

INFECTIOUS MADNESS

THE SURPRISING SCIENCE OF HOW WE "CATCH" MENTAL ILLNESS

A pitch for infections as a major cause of mental illness, arguing for a paradigm shift from mainstream psychiatric doctrine.

Journalist Washington (Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future, 2011, etc.) champions the work of E. Fuller Torrey and colleagues. As a young man, Torrey was appalled when his sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia attributed to “family problems.” It was a time when “schizophrenogenic mothers” were all the fashion. Torrey became a psychiatrist and started his infection-oriented research. It’s unquestionable that some severe mental illness is rooted in infections—e.g., syphilis, rabies, Sydenham’s chorea, the World War I flu that led to encephalitis lethargica, and, more recently, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, and mad cow disease. However, Torrey and his colleagues see infectious causality in a much wider variety of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, autism, and anorexia. The evidence is scant, largely based on association studies such as finding evidence of infections in blood or spinal fluid or a seasonal increase in some disorders that could be a sign of a viral infection. Furthermore, conjecture abounds. Do children really pick up the parasite Toxoplasma gondii from cat urine in park sandboxes and later develop schizophrenia? For all that infections are touted, researchers cite genetics, stress, and trauma as making a difference in whether disease will manifest. A better case is made regarding strep throat, after which a few children develop OCD seemingly overnight. In a small study, their symptoms were reversed when their blood was filtered to remove strep antibodies. In making the infectious pitch, Washington rightly argues that it strengthens the case for abandoning the Cartesian dualism that separates mind from body and leads to stigma and fear. It’s acceptable to study how infection and immunity affect the brain, but only as part of a larger agenda to understand the brain in all its plasticity and complexity.

Conclusion: an unproven but undoubtedly provocative case. Expect dissent and discussion.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-27780-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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