In an important read for open-minded parents, Wedge offers fresh perspectives and practical approaches to the continuing...

A DISEASE CALLED CHILDHOOD

WHY ADHD BECAME AN AMERICAN EPIDEMIC

An astute examination of the ADHD epidemic, what’s causing it, and how a radical, nonmedicinal treatment approach may help.

Author and longtime family therapist Wedge’s industry-shaking 2012 Psychology Today article “Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD” challenged the American psychiatric industry to reframe the way classic ADHD-associative behaviors are understood. The article also questioned whether medication should be the first approach to treating it and asked why diagnosis rates in America so greatly differed from those in European cultures. To Wedge, ADHD is not biological but psychosocial; in the U.S., it has become substantially “overdiagnosed and overmedicated” with powerful pharmaceutical stimulants prescribed to children. With direct aim at parents open to alternative therapies, the author discusses dietary (food dyes, processed sugar), situational and stressful familial causes for behavioral disruptions and offers nonmedical interventional treatment plans—e.g., stricter parenting, educational reform and even exercise—to counter behaviors traditionally deemed as ADHD markers. She makes impressive use of referential cases from her own practice, yet instead of the more typical rapid-fire diagnosis, Wedge, while agreeing that stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin do work, insists on exploring the drug-free avenues available to children instead. She is concerned about the changing landscapes and parameters of what “normal childhood” behaviors are and that those falling outside of them are rashly diagnosed and swiftly buffered with psychiatric medication. Chapters detailing how modern medicine came to the conclusions it has about ADHD, the pharmaceutical industry’s influential omnipresence in medicine, rickety research studies and why diagnosis rates continue to mushroom are consistently startling and distressing. While Wedge offers options not every medical professional or concerned parent will swallow willingly, her affable approach and compassionate universal concern for the wellness of children are evident throughout.

In an important read for open-minded parents, Wedge offers fresh perspectives and practical approaches to the continuing ADHD conundrum.

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58333-563-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Avery

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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

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AN INVISIBLE THREAD

THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR-OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE, AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY

A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.

When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4251-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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