Jebelli analyzes every facet of Alzheimer’s with personal empathy and scientific rigor, a combination that makes for...

READ REVIEW

IN PURSUIT OF MEMORY

THE FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S

Alzheimer’s disease has stymied attempts at a cure for generations, but exciting advances in biomedical technologies have yielded new understanding of why the disease occurs and how to eradicate it.

By conservative estimates, Alzheimer’s affects 47 million people worldwide, yet its pathology remains largely unknown. Jebelli, who was inspired to become a neuroscientist after his grandfather was afflicted, tells the story of the disease’s devastating impact through the voices of patients and their families. He further unpacks the evolving scientific understanding of the disease by traveling the globe to interview the intrepid researchers who have dedicated their careers to Alzheimer's, attempting to characterize its causes and symptoms in order to devise effective treatment options. While it has long been understood that abnormal “plaques” and “tangles” in the brain erode neuronal function, resulting in progressive dementia, why these abnormalities occur remains mysterious. Also opaque is how to prevent them, even as diagnostic techniques grow more sophisticated, identifying biomarkers and other signs of the disease sometimes years before the onset of symptoms. Yet biomedical innovations such as stem cell engineering and Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats offer real hope that a means to reverse symptoms or eliminate the disease may be within reach. Intriguing, as well, are the clinical trials that suggest certain lifestyle changes—the familiar trio of diet, exercise, and mental engagement—may be our best bet at wholesale prevention. An elegant and precise writer, the author follows every lead for a cure with the panache of a detective novelist, giving readers much to hope for despite the devastation Alzheimer’s has left in its wake. Based on his meticulous and wide-ranging research, he makes a convincing argument that Alzheimer’s will be defeated in the decades to come.

Jebelli analyzes every facet of Alzheimer’s with personal empathy and scientific rigor, a combination that makes for enthralling reading.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-36079-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more