A look at traditional Chinese medicine’s ability to protect against food allergies that could generate considerable buzz in...

Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science, and the Search for a Cure

This detailed scientific analysis puts traditional Chinese medicine forward as a strong contender for treating food allergies.

Anyone with a food allergy, or who has a family member with one, knows the pain of coping with the daily threat of mild to severe reactions, including potentially fatal anaphylaxis. Modern Western medicine dictates a strict regimen of food avoidance coupled with immune suppression, or daily tolerance trials that leave patients and their families balanced precariously between hope and fear. In this thoroughly researched volume, Ehrlich (co-author of Asthma Allergies Children, 2010) approachably analyzes a new method: a lovely and perhaps inevitable coupling of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western science. Although alternative medical approaches such as TCM often find little mainstream respect in the United States, people have been practicing them successfully in other countries for centuries. Ehrlich begins with a detailed background of food allergies and their biological processes, and looks at how changes in population levels can affect their occurrence. He follows this up with an overview of the scientific research in the field, and how different treatment regimens work. This sophisticated scientific treatise may prove daunting for many lay readers, but for anyone who lives with food allergies, it will no doubt be accessible. The book’s main thrust is the creation of a food-allergy herbal formula in the TCM tradition, a product that appears to provide lasting curative effects without compromising the immune system. Ehrlich’s strength, however, is his cogent analysis of the synthesis of alternative and mainstream methods and treatments, and his focus on the balance between quality patient care and robust scientific principles. Anyone seeking to better understand food allergies will benefit from the depth of Ehrlich’s examination.

A look at traditional Chinese medicine’s ability to protect against food allergies that could generate considerable buzz in the medical community.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0984383221

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Third Avenue Books

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


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.


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. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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