A difficult but rewarding look at a major scientific dispute.

Alzheimer's Disease

HOW ITS BACTERIAL CAUSE WAS FOUND AND THEN DISCARDED

A historical account of the debate over the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is both debilitating and near ubiquitous; if one lives long enough, Broxmeyer (Autism, 2014, etc.) observes, the odds are high that one will suffer some iteration of it. He also notes that Alois Alzheimer, the scientist after whom the disease is named, likely contributed as much as anyone to the general confusion regarding its precise nature. In 1901, Broxmeyer says, Alzheimer examined Auguste Deter—a woman suffering from diminished memory and behavioral abnormality—and seemed determined to avoid implicating tuberculosis even though the potential link between the two was clear. At the start of the 20th century, TB was troublingly common, but Alzheimer insisted that whatever infectious disease caused the newly discovered malady was itself altogether new. However, the author points out, German neuropathologist Oskar Fischer observed in autopsies that brains addled with Alzheimer’s disease also exhibited a germ associated with TB. Later, it would be discovered that tubercular microbes could generate amyloid fibrils very similar to those found in the Alzheimer’s-related plaques and seemed to affect the brain’s immune cells in the same way. The author is an internist and a medical researcher, and his double mastery of both the scientific minutiae and historical nuances of his subject matter is breathtaking. This is more than an account of a scientific debate—it’s also an examination of the sometimes-unempirical way that such debate proceeds, as it’s conducted by human beings with agendas of their own. The science in this book can be formidably complex, and although Broxmeyer seems to make a concerted effort toward clarity, his work isn’t for the casual layperson. As a result, although it’s a relatively short book—less than 200 pages of text—it is by no means a quick read. Nevertheless, readers with strong science backgrounds will be impressed by the author’s undeniable competence, as well as his journalistic approach to chartering the evolution of thought regarding one of our era’s most challenging diseases.

A difficult but rewarding look at a major scientific dispute.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4912-8735-4

Page Count: 190

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more