Medicine

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Breath from Salt

Bijal P. Trivedi

Cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease often fatal in early decades of life, parents raising millions of dollars to support research, and scientists working at the cutting edge of gene therapies comprise threads of a riveting narrative Bijal P. Trivedi weaves together in Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever.

Electric Brain

Douglas Fields

People who manifest a specific pattern of brain activity while letting their minds wander can learn a second language more easily than those who don’t show it. A computer interpreting brainwaves can generate speech that sounds “as clear as Alexa,” Douglas Fields relates in Electric Brain: How the New Science of Brainwaves Reads Minds, Tells Us How We Learn, and Helps Us Change for the Better.

DNA Nation

Sergio Pistoi

“You may discover things about yourself and/or your family members that may be upsetting or cause anxiety and that you may not have the ability to change.” People ordering DNA tests often overlook the small print, Sergio Pistoi writes in DNA Nation: How the Internet of Genes is Changing Your Life. Afterward, he notes, they may regret that. An estimated 2-10 percent of paternities are misattributed.

The Breakthrough

Charles Graeber

Skeptical reporters usually avoid the word “breakthrough,” but Charles Graeber deems it the right word for the Nobel Prize-winning scientific discoveries he describes in The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer. More than 3000 clinical trials of immunotherapeutic drugs for cancer are in process. “Even oncologists, a cautious bunch,” he writes, “are using the C word: cure.

Good to Go

Christie Aschwanden

Once seen as rest between workouts, recovery today is deemed an active extension of training. Techniques, foods, drinks, and other products that promise to speed recovery abound. Some help; some don’t or even may cause harm. In Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery, Christie Aschwanden helps readers distinguish substance from hype.

Meredith Wadman

Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted fetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella.

Don C Reed

This is a one-of-a-kind book: combining easy-to-understand science, in-the-trenches political warfare, and inspirational stories. It aims to give hope to individuals and families who suffer from chronic disease or disability; to point out how ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference in the battle to ease suffering and save lives through supporting medical research; to share in "people talk" some of the amazing progress already achieved in the new field of stem cell research; to show how even such a magnificent success as the California stem cell program is under constant attack from ideological groups; to offer medical research as a force for international cooperation; to suggest how cure research lessens the need for the mountainous costs of endless care.

Bonny P. McClain

We read about health literacy and initiatives to improve the understanding of complicated language reserved for discussing medicine. Patients are becoming shared-decision makers and we need to foster and clarify dialogue to improve the translation of research findings, health policy, medical education, and healthcare.

Vincent T. DeVita, Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

Cancer touches everybody’s life in one way or another. But most of us know very little about how the disease works, why we treat it the way we do, and the personalities whose dedication got us where we are today. For fifty years, Dr. Vincent T. DeVita Jr. has been one of those key players.