A loud and clear caveat emptor, backed up by undeniably disturbing facts regarding the risks and benefits of present-day...

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THE PURSUIT OF PERFECTION

THE PROMISE AND PERILS OF MEDICAL ENHANCEMENT

A critical look at the historical record of medical enhancements as influenced by science, medicine, culture, and commerce, and the lessons to be learned from past experience.

The Rothmans, both historians at Columbia, examine how what started out as cures have turned into enhancements. Beginning with the new science of endocrinology in the 19th century, they reveal how hormones came to be seen as offering a promise of reshaping lives. With the growing relationship of research and commerce in the 20th came a dramatic increase in the sale of prescription drugs, especially hormone preparations such as estrogen. Gynecologists and endocrinologists extolled their use, and many women demanded them, assured that they could, with estrogen’s help, remain forever feminine. The assumed benefits long overshadowed the potential risks. Similarly, testosterone was promoted as the male equivalent, but, as the Rothmans report, it was the lack of patient demand, not the reluctance of physicians to prescribe it, that kept it from becoming a bestseller. The story of liposuction offers further evidence of how the allure of enhancements for some people and the potential for financial gain for some physicians has muted the attention paid to the risks involved. The use of human growth hormone for children of below-average height is a story of the turning of a socially undesirable or disadvantageous condition into a disease. Children have not been the only ones to be subjected to questionable interventions. Soon the use of human growth hormone products to enhance the physiques of adults was being promoted in anti-aging clinics, with the emphasis on benefits taking precedence over cautions about possible adverse side effects. The Rothmans argue that experience with such technologies demonstrates that routine oversight will not be adequate to protect consumers making decisions about the enhancements that genetic research will offer, nor will the advice of individual physicians, medical societies, or government regulatory agencies. What consumers need is to better understand the nature of the research and the reliability of the results.

A loud and clear caveat emptor, backed up by undeniably disturbing facts regarding the risks and benefits of present-day procedures and future possibilities.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2003

ISBN: 0-679-43980-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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