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Topic: Suggestions for Non-Fiction Medical Topics?

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Subject: Suggestions for Non-Fiction Medical Topics?
Date Posted: 7/2/2008 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
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I just finished a book called Burn Unit, by Barbara Ravage, about a top-rated burn center and the detailed process of treating burn patients.  I couldn't put this book down, it was fascinating!  Does anyone else have a recommendation for a book that is about a medical topic, written for laypeople but with fairly in-depth medical detail?

Date Posted: 7/2/2008 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2006
Posts: 4,972
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Although it was published in 1994,  As Real As It Gets: The Life of a Hospital at the Center of the AIDS Epidemic by by Carol Pogash is a good book.



Date Posted: 7/2/2008 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,886
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Michael Crichton's FIVE PATIENTS; Steve Fishman's A BOMB IN THE BRAIN.

And oh yeah: Richard Preston's THE HOT ZONE.

Last Edited on: 7/2/08 5:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1

Date Posted: 7/2/2008 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,062
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Virus Hunters of the CDC


Date Posted: 7/2/2008 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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The HOT ZONE is excellent!  And if you like murder mysteries, ELECTIVE MURDER by Janet Mcgiffin .  This murder mystery is about the politics of health care reform and emergency room abuse.

Date Posted: 7/3/2008 12:27 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 8,411
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Complications and Better by Atul Gawande.  Most of the books by Echo Heron. 

Last Edited on: 7/3/08 12:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/3/2008 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 6,102
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We listened to Hot Zone on a trip, and oddly, just as we were driving through Thurmond, MD, the narrator said something like, "In the little town of Thurmond, Maryland..." which was where one of the main characters lived when she was exposed.
That was a very good book.  

As was The Medicine of ER by Harlan Gibbs and Marilyn Kagan.  Another we listened to in audio.  This was particularly good because we are fans of ER and could easily relate to the shows they referenced.  Very annoying though, that they kept pronouncing the characters' names wrong.

Also, Complications by Atul Gawande.  A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science.  Now this one, after two discs, we stopped playing it.  It just wasn't holding our interest.  But, there was something about it that makes me want to give it another try.  It was a National Book Award finalist, so maybe we just weren't in the mood for it at the time.

I've had Burn Unit on my WL for a while now.


Date Posted: 7/3/2008 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2006
Posts: 823
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I REALLY like Better by Atul Gawande.

Date Posted: 7/3/2008 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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if psychiatry and/or neurology are included in your interests, a book by Oliver Sacks would be a good choice.  The one I read, with fascination, was The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.  A Sacks book many people mention is Awakenings.   A new title by Dr. Sacks is Musicophilia.

Date Posted: 7/4/2008 3:28 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,886
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Not to start anything, but thumbs up for Atul Gawande, he's an outstanding writer, I read all his stuff when it's published in THE NEW YORKER. That said, thumbs down for Oliver Sacks -- he's got endlessly fascinating tales to tell, but he's a lousy writer. Just my opinion, natch. (Tangentially, if anyone liked THE HOT ZONE, I very highly recommend Richard Preston's AMERICAN STEEL -- not a medical book, of course, but every bit as thrillingly involving as THZ was.)
Date Posted: 7/4/2008 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2008
Posts: 9,936
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I'm in the process of  reading Evil Genes:Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend by Barbara Oakley. From the Book Jacket: "Evil Genes is a tour de force of popular science writing that brilliantly melds scientific research with intriguing family history and puts both a human and a sicientific face to evil."

I found some of the "scientific research" a bit over my head. The family history and information on others refered to in the subtitle as well as other world leaders is intriguing and very readable.

I heard an interview with the author and that was the impetus for buying the book.

Date Posted: 7/4/2008 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2008
Posts: 173
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Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery" by M. Stacey

"From Publishers Weekly
In 1878, a Brooklynite named Mollie Fancher, bedridden and afflicted with mysterious symptoms after a serious accident with a street car, claimed to have eaten next to nothing for more than a decade following the accident. Fancher's apparent ability to survive without sustenance earned her such renown that an estimated 75,000-100,000 visitors trooped through her bedroom over the course of three decades. Yet Stacey (Consumed: Why Americans Love, Hate and Fear Food) maintains that Fancher's significance lies "in what she ignited" which was a great deal of intense debate between religious and scientific leaders. Calling Fancher "a lightning rod for some of the largest intellectual storms of her time," Stacey explains that the "fasting girl" embodied many of the strongest anxieties and most pervasive cultural fantasies of her day. Most notably, her survival without nourishment which the author acknowledges was impossible appeared to validate religious beliefs that there were mysteries beyond the ken of modern science. And at the dawn of the age of psychotherapy, Fancher's case was also indicative of the ostensibly new phenomenon whereby the stresses of everyday life in an urban, industrial society were severe enough to induce what today some would call profound neuroses. More a cultural history of late 19th-century America than a biography of Fancher, this is a fascinating account of the intellectual currents that shaped the way the nation understood itself and of the cultural pressures that often made it difficult for young women like Fancher to feel stable or secure about their identities or their place in the world. Touching on topics ranging from spiritualism to hysteria to anorexia, Stacey deftly captures both the excitement and the fear that surrounded such topics, drawing subtle parallels between Fancher's age and our own. "

Date Posted: 7/4/2008 7:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 6,102
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You know, Greg, you might be right about Atul.  That is why I did not repost the cd's and plan on trying to listen to the book again.  I think it was the reader. 

Totally off topic, but this is like Michael Shaara's books.  Now we just loved Killer Angels, and while I never read For Love of the Game, I really enjoyed the movie.  So I got both in audio.  Love of the Game is the worst, worst, worst, book I've ever listened to.  Husband agrees.  Could not finish it.  We are now trying to listen to Killer Angels.  About 15 minutes into it I said, "IS THIS THE SAME GUY WHO READ LOVE OF THE GAME!!!!"  Yes, I was shouting.  And I do believe it is, same tone, inflection, same over-dramatization.  He is ruining a wonderful book!

Oliver Sacks...gee, I liked those movies about him, but you know, although it has been a very long time, I do remember struggling through a couple of his books.  I was surprisingly bored, and they were among the first books I posted here when I joined.


Date Posted: 7/13/2008 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
Posts: 67
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I also enjoyed The Hot Zone.  I would also recommend Stiff by Mary Roach, a fascinating look at what happens to dead bodies.

Date Posted: 7/17/2008 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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Matt Ridley is a terrific writer, especially on genetics.


And have you gone to the cdc website. It is truly excellent (and you paid for it already). www.cdc.gov