A scrupulously researched, sometimes-impressive work that offers an impassioned call for self-care and patient empowerment.




A debut health care guide that asserts that physical pain is an epidemic that the medical community doesn’t always appropriately treat.

When Cady, a physician, suffered chronic back pain, she found that other doctors’ recommendations and treatments were less than satisfactory. Eventually, she says, she found relatively simple options that could cure her pain without drugs, injections, or surgery. This transformative experience led her to write this book, aimed at a dual audience of patients and physicians. She begins by addressing “the pain problem”: 100 million Americans “suffer from some type of chronic pain.” She then exposes what she sees as the shortcomings of an insurance-driven medical system that encourages treatment rather than prevention: “The reality is our society is continuing to deflect the patient’s responsibility for optimizing health from within while physicians have no money incentive to emphasize the importance of self-care.” Cady takes particular aim at opioids, frequently prescribed pain relievers that she says have potential side effects that may have a long-term, detrimental impact on one’s health. Given recent news stories about widespread addiction to prescription pain medicines, this portion of the book is especially relevant and timely. The author also addresses the potentially negative consequences of surgery. Certainly the most intriguing section, though, is “The Rational Solution: The antiPAIN Lifestyle.” In it, Cady lobbies for people to wrest control of their health away from doctors, because “your personal lifestyle or collection of healthy habits, not outside forces or physicians, will dictate the best health for you in the majority of cases.” That said, her own plan isn’t revolutionary, nor does it guarantee freedom from pain; instead, it includes such obvious guidance as “Quit Smoking,” “Drink Water,” and “Optimize Your Nutrition.” Some technical portions of the book, despite the inclusion of a glossary, may be challenging for the average reader, so it’s appropriate that the author suggests that patients give copies to their physicians to read. However, some of these same medical professionals may bristle at the author’s subjective perspective and counsel, despite copious notes.

A scrupulously researched, sometimes-impressive work that offers an impassioned call for self-care and patient empowerment.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63047-654-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


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.


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