Tag Archives: medicine

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre: I adore books about modern myths and this is among the best. Though the title is fairly generic, the science in question here is largely related to health: medicine, disease, and diet, and the media’s role in the spread of misinformation. I was surprised both by the debunking of myths I’d long thought to be true, as well as those myths and charlatans I’d never even heard of. As an American, reading about the British perspective was extra fascinating. Goldacre also has quite an amusing way with words, which helped dilute some of the anger a bit. Exasperation can be exhausting, but when tempered with humor it’s much more enjoyable. Sure, there are some tales, like the AIDS denial in South Africa, that are simply horrifying, but by and large it’s more eye-opening than depressing. Definitely recommended to anyone who’s ever had any interest in those big “such-and-such causes/cures cancer” tales constantly blasted over the airwaves.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks: This is quite possibly the most amazing collection of true stories I’ve ever read. I’d encountered Sacks’s work in the past only through the movie Awakenings (which I didn’t even know was him, given that the doctor in the film is named Malcolm Sayers), but that was merely the tip of the iceberg. Herein is described a man whose memory failed him, where he perpetually believes it to be some forty years ago, and cannot remember anything that’s happened since for more than a minute or two at a time. A woman who has trouble hearing people over the deafening Irish music playing in her head. A man whose visual understanding of the world is so diminished that he literally cannot identify a rose until he smells it, though he can describe its shape and colors to the smallest detail. And on and on. The mind is an amazing machine, and this book of various ways it can misfire is not at all depressing, as one might expect. Indeed, it’s actually full of hope, a reminder of how ingeniously mankind can adapt to even the most unusual and strenuous of circumstances.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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