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

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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 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

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