Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Exploring the History of Medicine by John Hudson Tiner

book cover

Exploring the History of Medicine:
From the Ancient Physicians of Pharaoh to Genetic Engineering
by John Hudson Tiner

ISBN-13: 9780890512487
Paperback: 165 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: 2007

Source: Bought from local Christian book store.

Book Description from Goodreads (modified):
Exploring the History of Medicine takes a look at medical practices from the ancient past to the present and includes biographical sketches of famous persons of medicine. It also has study questions at the end of each chapter and dozens of illustrations. This book gives middle-school through junior-high students a strong introduction into the study of medicine.

My Review:
Exploring the History of Medicine provides an overview of advances in medicine from ancient to modern times in the context of the people who discovered key medical advances. It's easy to read and understand and the few technical terms were defined in the text. There were also interesting black and white pictures and illustrations. At the end of each chapter, there were 8-17 questions that tested if you learned the important points in the chapter. The answer key was in the back. The book is suitable for middle schoolers on up.

The author mentioned it when the scientist or doctor being discussed was a Christian. Overall, the book was interesting and well-written. I'd highly recommend it to those interested in gaining a basic overview of advances made in medicine throughout history.

Chapter 1 talked about ancient physicians (Imhotep, Hippocrates, Galen) and what they contributed to medical knowledge. Chapter 2 talked about what Galen got wrong and how that affected medicine in the Middle Ages and beyond. Chapter 3 talked about advances in knowledge about human anatomy by Andreas Vesalius. Chapter 4 talked about the father of modern surgery, Ambroise Pare. Chapter 5 talked about the discoveries about blood circulation made by William Harvey and David Fabricius.

Chapter 6 talked about microscopes and the discoveries Antoni van Leeuwenhoek made using them. Chapter 7 talked about small pox and Edward Jenner. Chapter 8 talked about advances in surgical pain killers made by Humphry Davy and by James Young Simpson. Chapter 9 talked about advances in surgical pain killers made by William Morton. Chapter 10 talked about the discoveries about the spread of diseases made by Ignaz Semmelweiss.

Chapter 11 talked about discoveries made by Louis Pasteur. Chapter 12 talked about Joseph Lister and antiseptic surgery. Chapter 13 talked about Robert Koch and the germ theory of disease. Chapter 14 talked about Louis Pasteur and advances in vaccine development. Chapter 15 talked about James Lind and the cure for scurvy. Chapter 16 talked about Christiaan Eijkman finding a cure for beriberi and Jean Boussingault finding a cure for goiter.

Chapter 17 talked about William Crookes' discovery of cathode rays and Wilhelm Roentgen's discovery of x-rays. Chapter 18 talked about Henri Becquerel and Pierre and Marie Curie and the discovery of radioactive elements. Chapter 19 talked about Gerhard Domagk's discovery of sulfa drugs. Chapter 20 talked about the discovery of penicillin and Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey, and Ernst Chain. Chapter 21 talked about Charles Drew and blood transfusions, Christiaan Barnard and organ transplants, Willem Kolff and the artificial kidney, James Watson and Francis Crick and DNA.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Read the table of contents and three pages of chapter one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Acupressure Atlas by Kolster & Waskowiak, M.D.

book cover

The Acupressure Atlas
by Bernard C. Kolster M.D.
& Astrid Waskowiak M.D.

ISBN-13: 9781594772078
Oversized Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Healing Arts Press
Released: October 2007

Source: Bought through Half.com.

Book Description from Goodreads (modified):
A fully illustrated and comprehensive reference guide to acupressure.

Trouble sleeping, sensitive stomach, headaches, joint problems, allergies: Sensory ailments such as these have been steadily increasing in Western countries for decades. Acupressure--massage along the body’s meridians in accordance with traditional Chinese medicine--can effectively prevent and treat these disorders, and more. The Acupressure Atlas is a fully illustrated and comprehensive reference guide that demonstrates how acupressure techniques activate and accelerate the body’s self-healing powers to alleviate many health problems, including the common cold.

Acupressure confers a holistic health benefit. It is suited to self-treatment, the treatment of a partner, and the treatment of children. Along with an introduction to the origins and principles of traditional Chinese medicine, The Acupressure Atlas provides the most important basic techniques as well as step-by-step instructions (illustrated in full color) of the practical and specific information needed to put the healing techniques of acupressure at your fingertips.

My Review:
To give a little background, my brother has been trained in acupressure and shiatsu massage. While he was visiting for Christmas this year, we got to talking about that (among other things) and I wondered if acupressure might help the continual stiffness and soreness in my shoulders and upper arms. I tried it, and it helped a lot. I wanted to know more, so I bought this book and have been using it.

I've also used acupressure to relieve a tension headache. Though I've never had really bad PMS cramps, I used the PMS cramps routine (a similar routine is given free on this video) just hours before the cramps would normally start, and I didn't have cramps at all. Very nice. So acupressure does work, though I don't accept the eastern philosophy behind it. The information given in the book about the western medicine ideas about why it works make more sense to me.

The Acupressure Atlas is a layman's guide to acupressure. It tells you how much pressure to use, for how long, and how to find the points and what the various points help with. Full-color pictures showed where the points were and were very useful and easy to use. A woman was used in most of the photographs showing where the various points were, but they also had a naked computer-generated male model (which included a few full frontal nudity shots) showing these points.

This book didn't contain every last acupressure point, but it did contain the great majority of them. In general, the instructions on how to find the points were very clear and finding the points wasn't difficult. However, a few times the instructions would say to massage the points in a certain order yet they gave the directions to find the next point as a certain distance from the point after that one rather than from the point just left. It wasn't difficult to convert the directions using information given elsewhere, but I thought that odd.

The book started with information about acupressure and the eastern philosophy behind it. It then taught the basic techniques of acupressure and went over the main acupressure points on each body section (on the face, top of the head, the neck, the back, etc.). It then covered various routines to use for health issues (sleep problems, headaches & migraines, fatigue, bronchitis & bronchial asthma, sinus ailments, colds & flu, menstrual problems & PMS, urinary tract infections, digestive problems, gastrointestinal problems, motion sickness & nausea, neck pain, back pain/lumbago, tennis elbow, head & neck massage, relaxation exercises, whole-body massage). These were given step-by-step and illustrated so you didn't have to flip around in the book.

In the appendix, the points were listed in sequence by meridian (with information on how to locate them and what they did). There were also skeletal diagrams, meridian diagrams (with all of the points shown on the full, computer-generated male model), and a glossary.

Overall, I'd recommend this book as an excellent guide to acupressure.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Behind the Yellow Tape by Jarrett Hallcox, Amy Welch

book cover

Behind the Yellow Tape:
On the Road with Some of America's Hardest Working Crime Scene Investigators
by Jarrett Hallcox, Amy Welch

ISBN-13: 9780425221662
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Released: January 6, 2009

Source: Bought through Half.com.

Book Description from Back Cover:
A true, uncensored look at real world CSIs across the country.

For years, Jarrett Hallcox and Amy Welch educated and trained CSIs at the National Forensic Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee. Now they crisscross the nation providing glimpses into the real world of crime scene investigation, and the talented, driven, and sometimes even amusing investigators themselves. Experience gripping accounts of true crimes from across the country: from the murky waters of the Puget Sound to the crumbling ruins of the Alamo and the grimy streets of the Big Apple, these are the real stories of the real people who work behind the yellow tape.

My Review:
Behind the Yellow Tape is a true crime book with crimes from 8 cities or counties mixed in with travelogue details about the authors' visit to the area (what they ate, what the weather was like, etc.). The authors visited various USA states and recount one big true crime case or several shorter cases for each sheriff's office or police department they visited. The true crime stories were interesting, informative, and often suspenseful. I usually skimmed over the travelogue stuff.

The authors tended to promote the CSI school in Knoxville, Tennessee by pointing out how their graduates (who worked the true crimes detailed in this book) used what they learned to solve the crime.

There were some black and white pictures of the people, places, crime scenes (no exposed bodies shown), and evidence. Some of the crime scene descriptions were gory. There was a fair amount of bad language and some crude humor.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Repost: Life Inside the "Thin" Cage by Constance Rhodes

Instead of reviewing the traditional (for this time of year) weight-loss diet or exercise book, I decided to re-post my review of this excellent book.

book cover

Life Inside the "Thin" Cage
by Constance Rhodes

Trade Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Shaw Books
First Released: 2003

FINDINGbalance website

Source: Bought from Half.com.

Back Cover Description (slightly modified):
"I don't have an eating disorder. I just watch what I eat..."

For millions of women, "watching" what we eat has become an outright obsession. Frustrated by the unrealistic standards of beauty presented by today’s media, many women have become trapped in a never-ending pattern of chronic dieting. Daily, they endure destructive self-talk such as “I can’t eat that or I’ll get fat” or “If I could just lose a few more pounds everything would be better.”

Chronic dieters may be any shape or size but they have one thing in common: They are often left to suffer alone with an undiagnosed “sub-clinical” eating disorder. Such sub-clinical disorders include eating habits that are unusual, even unhealthy, but do not fit the technical classifications of anorexia or bulimia. Because sub-clinical disorders are largely unrecognized, we may refuse to admit to our friends--and even to ourselves--that there is any problem at all.

*Do you categorize some foods as "safe" and others as "off-limits"?

*Do you believe that if you were to gain weight then people would no longer like you?

*Are you tired of worrying about weight, dieting, and food all the time?

If this sounds like you, discover a new road to emotional, physical, and spiritual health--and freedom--that lies beyond Life Inside the "Thin" Cage. Readers will find personal stories, insights into their secret patterns and habits, reassurance that they are not alone, checklists, self-tests, and, best of all, a new road to emotional, physical, mental and spiritual freedom.

Life Inside the "Thin" Cage is a well-written and helpful book for women and men who are dissatisfied with their bodies (specifically those who "feel fat").

I don't think I've ever done a diet in my life. I simply try to eat a moderate amount and eat a large variety of foods. However, I read a different book that briefly touched on eating disorders (including sub-clinical ones) which included the "I just watch what I eat" quote from this book as well as a recommendation for it. Since I'd say "I just watch what I eat," too, I began to wonder what the difference was between me and someone with a problem, so I got this book.

I agree that it's excellent. It reinforced my contentment with how I look, and I suspect it would be very helpful for anyone who struggles with "feeling fat," who's stuck in a constant cycle of dieting, and/or who has set rules when it comes to eating.

The book had five parts. Part One explained what was meant by "chronic dieting" and "disordered eating." It explored some motivations for chronic dieting as well as self-tests and questions to help the reader identify if they have a problem. She also listed the signs of health problems caused by disordered eating.

Part Two explored the factors that lead to chronic dieting and disordered eating. Part Three explained what keeps people trapped in chronic dieting and helps the reader to identify things that trigger the desire to diet. Part Four gave the reader truths to replace the lies that trap them in disordered eating habits. Part Five gave steps to help the reader break free from chronic dieting and disordered eating.

Throughout the book, author openly shared her struggles with chronic dieting and also shared stories from many others. She also included medical information about disordered eating. The author occasionally referred to God and sometimes included a sample prayer at the end of a chapter, but God wasn't the focus of her suggestions (as in, this wasn't a "Christian book.")

The book was easy to understand, encouraging, and practical. Overall, I'd highly recommend it to anyone dealing with "I feel fat" and eating issues.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
"I don't have an eating disorder. I just watch what I eat..." These were the words I repeated time and again to anyone who suggested that I was overly concerned with weight and dieting. After all, I reasoned, isn't it normal to take pride in maintaining a slim figure?

In Western society today, it is culturally acceptable and even expected that women who want to be successful and respected will be on a never-ending diet. At every turn, we face images of smiling, beautiful, thin people. We can't walk through a shopping mall without realizing that unless we go to extreme measures, we're just not going to be able to stack up against the ideal of beauty that we see hanging in store windows. Even if we don't leave home, an innocent evening in front of the television supplies multiple reminders of the standards we consistently fail to meet.

So we have learned how to force our often rebellious bodies into the crippling corset of conformity. We have exercised, skipped meals, switched to low-fat or no-fat foods, or gradually decreased our overall intake of calories to a point that ensures continued weight loss. As time has gone by, some of us have learned the art of replacing a burger and fries with a Diet Coke and a fruit plate, while others live from diet to diet--a never-ending cycle of feast, famine, elation, and self-loathing.

Even if we are successful at losing a few pounds, it seems we only find new things to dislike about the size and shape of our body. "If I could be just one size smaller," we lament, "then everything would be better."

And so the vicious cycle continues, sapping us of time, energy, satisfaction, and self-esteem. Without realizing it, we've become trapped in the "cage" we so lovingly call "thin"--endlessly striving to meet an ideal that seems like the answer to our discontent.

Read the rest of the first chapter.