Balance: A Dizzying Journey Through the Science of Our Most Delicate Sense

Author:
Carol Svec
Publisher:
Chicago Review Press
Category:
Biology

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

Some low-frequency sounds — such as noise from storms or truck engines — can make you feel dizzy and nauseated. 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. A breakthrough in improving balance as we age might just come through the study of the Achilles tendon. A person gets “falling down drunk” due to a tiny structure in the inner ear that floats when it becomes soaked in alcohol.

These and other surprising and useful nuggets of information can be found in this lively, 360-degree exploration of our body’s most intricate, overlooked sense — balance. Readers follow award-winning science and health writer Carol Svec through various facilities as she talks with leading scientists doing state-of-the-art balance research. Svec translates their most fascinating findings for the layperson in a way that is highly entertaining and broadly accessible. She showcases the coolest gadgets used by researchers as she grills an egg in a virtual kitchen, has her senses fooled by a mannequin named Hans in a Tumbling Room, survives “the Vominator” without losing her lunch, and experiences drunken dizziness inside a police muster room. Along the way she cites case studies of people whose lives are affected by balance dysfunction; explains how balance research is being applied today to help those who are ill, elderly, disabled, or simply prone to motion sickness; and provides a glimpse at what ingenious, potentially life-changing advances may be coming down the road.

Whether you have a balance disorder or care about someone who does, are an athlete or performer whose livelihood depends on balance, or just love accessible, page-turning popular science, you’ll be enlightened and entertained by this appreciation of our complex super-sense.

October 10, 2017

Drexel University Online