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"The Emperor of All Maladies" presents a thriller with cancer as the main character. It follows cancer from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago, through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it, to a radical new understanding of its essence. The result is a lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with--and perished from--for more than five thousand years.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks. She was a poor farmer who worked the same land as her enslaved ancestors, and she is buried in an unmarked grave. Yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medical research. Skloot uncovers Lacks' story, journeying from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to East Baltimore today, where Lacks' children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing training as a neurosurgeon, Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. "When Breath Becomes Air" chronicles his transformation from naïve medical student, to neurosurgeon, to patient and new father. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving memoir.
Looking at different forms of rest, from sleep to vacation, Pang dispels the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome. He combines scientific research with examples of artists and thinkers to challenge our tendency to see work and relaxation as antithetical. "Deliberate rest," as Pang calls it, is the true key to productivity, and will give us more energy, sharper ideas, and a better life. "Rest" offers a roadmap to rediscovering the importance of rest in our lives.
When vitamins were discovered a century ago, they prevented and cured many diseases. They also caused us to forget that vitamins are not the only important substances in food, leading us to accept the false idea that particular dietary chemicals are shortcuts to health. "Vitamania" is a look into the roots of America's nutritional confusion, and the message is inspiring and straightforward: given all that we don't know about nutrition, the best way to decide what to eat is to stop obsessing and embrace the uncertainty.
Brain researcher Buonomano draws on biology, physics, and philosophy to present his theory of how we tell and perceive time. The human brain, he argues, not only tells time but creates it, constructing our sense of chronological flow and enabling simulations of future and past events. These functions are essential not only to our daily lives but to the evolution of the human race. The brain was designed to navigate our continuously changing world by predicting what will happen and when; it is, at its core, a time machine.
Low-frequency sounds can make you feel dizzy. An index finger's light touch can stop people from losing balance. You are more prone to trip when you think someone is watching you. This and other surprising and useful information is peppered through this lively exploration of balance. Readers follow Svec as she visits balance researchers, cites cases of people whose lives are affected by balance dysfunction, and provides a glimpse at the ingenious advances that may be coming down the road.
A maddened creature, frothing at the mouth, lunges--and, with a bite, transforms its prey into another raving monster. It's a scenario that underlies our darkest tales of supernatural horror, but its power derives from a very real virus, a deadly scourge known to mankind from our earliest days. In this fascinating exploration, journalist Wasik and veterinarian Murphy chart four thousand years in the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies.
When the human immunodeficiency virus was identified in 1984, the competition to create an AIDS vaccine was fierce. Now Patricia Thomas brings the contenders to life in a fast-paced narrative, describing people and events like two biologists who rescued precious virus cultures from destruction by a military biohazard team, and researchers who drove hundreds of miles during a heat wave to work in a safe containment lab.
This no-nonsense handbook surveys the most used and abused drugs from caffeine to heroin to methamphetamine. In both quick-reference summaries and in-depth analyses, it reports on how these drugs enter the body, how they manipulate the brain, their short-term and long-term effects, the different "highs" they produce, and the circumstances in which they can be deadly. Neither a "just say no" treatise nor a "how-to" manual, "Buzzed" is based on the conviction that people make better decisions with accurate information in hand.
As late as the 1930s, virtually no drug intended for sickness did any good. That all changed in less than a generation with the discovery and development of a new category of medicine known as antibiotics. By 1955, the age-old evolutionary relationship between humans and microbes had been transformed, trivializing once-deadly infections. Rosen captures this revolution with all its false starts, lucky surprises, and eccentric characters.