Archive for the ‘Allied Health’ Category

Skin: a Natural History

June 7, 2007

From the book jacket:

We expose it, cover it, paint it, tattoo it, scar it, and pierce it. Our intimate connection with the world, skin protects us while advertising our health, our identity, and our individuality. This dazzling synthetic overview, written with a poetic touch and taking many intriguing side excursions, is a complete guidebook to the pliable covering that makes us who we are. Skin: A Natural History celebrates the evolution of three unique attributes of human skin: its naked sweatiness, its distinctive sepia rainbow of colors, and its remarkable range of decorations. Jablonski begins with a look at skin’s structure and functions and then tours its three-hundred-million-year evolution, delving into such topics as the importance of touch and how the skin reflects and affects emotions. She examines the modern human obsession with age-related changes in skin, especially wrinkles. She then turns to skin as a canvas for self-expression, exploring our use of cosmetics, body paint, tattooing, and scarification. Skin: A Natural History places the rich cultural canvas of skin within its broader biological context for the first time, and the result is a tremendously engaging look at ourselves.

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Why Size Matters: From Bacteria to Blue Whales

June 7, 2007

From the book jacket:

John Tyler Bonner, one of our most distinguished and creative biologists, here offers a completely new perspective on the role of size in biology. In his hallmark friendly style, he explores the universal impact of being the right size. By examining stories ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Gulliver’s Travels, he shows that humans have always been fascinated by things big and small. Why then does size always reside on the fringes of science and never on the center stage? Why do biologists and others ponder size only when studying something else–running speed, life span, or metabolism?

Why Size Matters, a pioneering book of big ideas in a compact size, gives size its due by presenting a profound yet lucid overview of what we know about its role in the living world. Bonner argues that size really does matter–that it is the supreme and universal determinant of what any organism can be and do. For example, because tiny creatures are subject primarily to forces of cohesion and larger beasts to gravity, a fly can easily walk up a wall, something we humans cannot even begin to imagine doing.

Bonner introduces us to size through the giants and dwarfs of human, animal, and plant history and then explores questions including the physics of size as it affects biology, the evolution of size over geological time, and the role of size in the function and longevity of living things.

As this elegantly written book shows, size affects life in its every aspect. It is a universal frame from which nothing escapes.

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Rene’ Dubos: Friend of the Good Earth: Microbiologist, Medical Scientist, Environmentalist

June 6, 2007

 From the book jacket:

Rene Dubos, Friend of the Good Earth: Microbiologist, Medical Scientist, Environmentalist is a biography of one of the most influential scientists in recent history. Documenting his life from his birth in 1901 or his death in 1982, this book examines the intriguing career of Dubos and his impact on science, medicine, society and the environment.

Dubos’ science is presented in the context of 20th Century biology, medicine and ecology. The ecological approach that led to his discovery of the first antibiotic was the foundation for his career as a medical scientist and environmentalist. The issues he raised, including antibiotic resistance, the interrelatedness of environmental health to human health, and the potential danger of relying too heavily on vaccines and drugs to eradicate disease, continue to be provocative and increasingly relevant today. A prolific author and a passionate humanist, Dubos served as the conscience of the environmental movement and founded the popular motto “Think globally, act locally.”

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Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor: The Human Stories Behind the Drugs We Use

May 25, 2007

Book Description

The stories behind drug discovery are fascinating, full of human and scientific interest. This is a book on the history of drug discovery that highlights the intellectual splendor of discoverers as well as the human frailty associated them. History is replete with examples of breakthrough medicines that have saved millions of lives. To offer just a few examples: ether as an anesthetic by Morton; penicillin as an antibiotic by Fleming; and insulin as an anti-diabetic by Banting discovered the use of insulin for treating diabetes.

In this book on the history of drug discovery, author Jie Jack Li highlights both the intellectual splendor of the discoverers as well as their human frailty, and he shows us that the discoverers of these medicines are, beyond a doubt, great benefactors to mankind. For instance, it is probable that without penicillin, 75% of us would not be alive today.

Li is a medicinal chemist and is intimately involved with drug discovery. Through extensive research and interviews with the inventors of drugs, including those of Viagra and Lipitor, he has assembled an astounding number of facts and anecdotes as well as much useful information about important drugs we know and use in our lives today. Figures, diagrams, and illustrations highlight the text throughout.

Both specialists and laymen alike will find Laughing, Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor information and entertaining. Students in chemistry, pharmacy, and medicine, workers in healthcare, and high school science teachers will find this book most useful.

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Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods

May 7, 2007

From the book’s preface:

Our civilization rests on food: on our ability to make the earth say beans, to store those beans and fruits and seeds, and to share them. Our creatures might feed their young, but as adults each one fends for itself, spending much of the day doing it. By contrast we humans have learned to farm. Over the last few centuries, advances in science have allowed fewer and fewer farmers to feed more and more people, freeing the rest of us to make and sell each other houses, hats, and video games, to be scientists and writers and politicians, painters, teachers, doctors, spiritual leaders, and talk-show hosts. In some parts of the world, only one person in 200 grows plants or raises animals for food. The other 199 of us buy what we eat . . . .

What genetic engineering actually is and how it differs from earlier techniques of plant breeding is not understood by many outside the laboratory and breeding plot. Nor do most people understand the effects on the science of plant breeding of new interpretations of patent protection. People have heard that scientists themselves oppose genetically modified foods–and few do, although they are rarely those who know this new science well. Most people lack the time–and often the knowledge–to critically examine the scientific research cited in support of the opposing views of the technology. By writing this book we seek to answer the questions that most people–whether for or against the idea of genetically modified foods–often forget to ask.

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Sustainable communities and the challenge of environmental justice

May 1, 2007

Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice

From the book jacket:

Environmental justice and sustainability have evolved over the past two decades to provide new and exciting directions for public policy and planning, but the relationship between their movements has traditionally been uneasy. What might, at first glance, seem like an obvious case for coalition is fraught with ideological and other concerns. How has it come to this, and how can we move forward?

Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice argues that there exists an area of theoretical and practical compatibility between these movements, a critical nexus for a broad social movement to create just and sustainable communities for all people. Agyeman shows how these two related movements can potentially work together by providing practical examples of organizations which employ the types of strategies he advocates. This book is vital to the efforts of community organizers, academics, policymakers, and everyone interested in more livable communities.

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The Jill Principle: A Woman’s Guide to Healing Your Spirit After Divorce or Breakup

May 1, 2007

From the book jacket:

If you’re contemplating a break-up, are in the midst of one, or eve if the relationship is technically “over,” reaching a place of peace and strength may seem a long way off, but you can use this time of upheaval and change to reconnect with your spirit and reclaim your true self. Michele Germain, a psychotherapist who specializes in divorce recovery, believes many long-term relationships fail due to unresolved “historical wounds” and unrealistic expectations. Emphasizing the body-mind-spirit connection, Germain offers an effective, holistic approach to healing.

The Jill Principle presents a step-by-step process that begins with recognizing the trauma of divorce, releasing emotional wounds from childhood, and eliminating negative self-talk. Guided medications, bioenergetic exercises, and other techniques help you identify and overcome buried pain and create lasting health and vitality in your body and soul. Moving personal accounts, including Germain’s own story, illustrate how the practices in this book have helped hundreds of women recover from crisis and find new opportunities for self expression and true happiness.

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When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine

May 1, 2007

From the book jacket:

Steve McQueen had cancer and was keeping it secret. Then the media found out, and soon all of America knew. McQueen’s high profile changed forever the way the public perceived a dreaded disease.

In When Illness Goes Public, Barron H. Lerner describes the evolution of celebrities’ illnesses from private matters to stories of great public interest. Famous people who have become symbols of illness include Lou Gehrig, the first “celebrity patient”; Rita Hayworth, whose Alzheimer disease went undiagnosed for years; and Arthur Ashe, who courageously went public with his AIDS diagnosis before the media could reveal his secret. And then there are private citizens like Barney Clark, the first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, and Lorenzo Odone, whose neurological disorder became the subject of a Hollywood film.

While celebrity illnesses have helped to inform patients about treatment options, ethical controversies, and scientific proof, the stories surrounding these illnesses have also assumed mythical characteristics that may be misleading. Marrying great storytelling to an exploration of the intersection of science, journalism, fame, and legend, this book is a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of health and illness.

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Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture

April 26, 2007

How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture

From the book jacket:

The genetic revolution has offered more promise than substance, except in agriculture, where it has brought profound benefits to farmers and consumers for more than a decade. More nutritious food is now produced with less environmental costs because genetically modified crops require almost no pesticides. Vitamin-enhanced crops and foods are helping to reduce malnutrition in parts of the developing world, and a wave of biopharmaceuticals is being developed. Yet, for all its achievements and promise, agricultural biotechnology is under intense fire from and fanning fear of a “corporate takeover” of agriculture by biotech firms. Mired in a rancorous trade and cultural war between Europe and the United States and inflamed by a politicized media, this technology remains dramatically underutilized, with particularly tragic consequences for millions of starving people in Africa and other poverty-stricken regions.

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How Fat Works

April 24, 2007

From the book jacket:

An experimental pathologist and molecular geneticist, Philip Wood uses gene-knockout technology to study the way mouse genes regulate the metabolism of fat–research that provides insights into the workings of fatty-acid metabolism in humans and what can happen when that metabolic balance goes awry. Based on the classes he regularly teaches to first- and second-year medical students, Wood’s book reviews the individual and public health burden of obesity and clarifies often-used, but often inadequately explained, terms employed in the continuing cultural and scientific debate about excess fat. He explains the role of fat in the healthy body, how fat is made, stored, and burned, and demonstrates how excess fat can lead to an array of metabolic disorders and diseases, from hypercholesterolemia and insulin resistance to diabetes. He reviews what recent research can tell us about specific genes or groups of genes that can lead to specific metabolic disorders. He explains the science behind common weight-loss regimens and why those regimens might succeed or fail, and reviews the complex interplay of hormones, genes, and stress in the way our bodies deal with fat through the life cycle. How Fat Works is a concise, clear, and up-to-date primer on the workings of fat, and essential reading for professionals entering careers in medicine and public health administration or anyone wanting a better understanding of one of our most urgent health crises.

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