An argument for redirecting health care funding in the United States, concentrating less on biomedical research and more on social services, thereby improving our general health and preventing overspending.
In the U.S., we spend considerably more on developing expensive medical treatments compared to other economically advanced countries, yet we often fall behind in terms of life expectancy and quality of life. So argues Kaplan (Director of Research/Stanford School of Medicine Clinical Excellence Research Center; The Prophet of Psychiatry: In Search of Reginald Ellery, 2015, etc.) in this slim but comprehensive new book. The author rigorously investigates some of the cutting-edge research areas—e.g., genetic therapy and precision medicine—funded by the National Institutes of Health (where the author was a chief science officer) and influenced by the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. He concludes that the promise of generating astounding cures for particular medical problems is considerably stronger than the practice. He appeals for increased funding for improved quality-of-health care that could save thousands of lives, citing the increased number of deaths each year due to poor treatment and medical errors (the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer). Kaplan further considers issues around race, financial inequality, and lack of education, pointing to the increased death rates in more impoverished parts of the country where medicine has done little to improve health outcomes. Ultimately, the author is not opposed to biomedicine, but he seeks urgent reforms in how we allocate funding. “It is not my contention that biomedicine is inherently harmful or useless. Far from it,” he writes. “It is my contention that researchers and the wider citizenry should continually debate strategies for extracting public benefit from scientific knowledge. I believe that an open debate, accountable to the latest evidence, will inspire significant reforms.”
Sharp, authoritative, and intensely data-driven. Though it reads like an expanded article for a professional medical journal, the argument is deeply compelling.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
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)