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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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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