5 New Medical Books to Watch Out For

This is Going to Hurt: Secrets of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay (7 Sep 2017)
this is going to hurt‘Painfully funny. The pain and the funniness somehow add up to something entirely good, entirely noble and entirely loveable.’ – Stephen Fry

Welcome to 97-hour weeks. Welcome to life and death decisions. Welcome to a constant tsunami of bodily fluids. Welcome to earning less than the hospital parking meter. Wave goodbye to your friends and relationships . . .

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, comedian and former junior doctor Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns, these diaries are everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward. And yes, it may leave a scar.

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience by Robert Desalle and Patricia J. Wynne (3 Jan 2018)
our senses.jpg
A lively and unconventional exploration of our senses, how they work, what is revealed when they don’t, and how they connect us to the world Over the past decade neuroscience has uncovered a wealth of new information about our senses and how they serve as our gateway to the world. This splendidly accessible book explores the most intriguing findings of this research. With infectious enthusiasm, Rob DeSalle illuminates not only how we see, hear, smell, touch, taste, maintain balance, feel pain, and rely on other less familiar senses, but also how these senses shape our perception of the world aesthetically, artistically, and musically. DeSalle first examines the question of how perception and consciousness are formed in the brain, setting human senses in an evolutionary context. He then investigates such varied themes as supersenses and diminished senses, synesthesia and other cross-sensory phenomena, hemispheric specialization, diseases, anomalies induced by brain injuries, and hallucinations. Focusing on what is revealed about our senses through the extraordinary, he provides unparalleled insights into the unique wonders of the human brain.

Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic by Richard McKay (3 Jan 2018)
patient 0
The search for a “patient zero” popularly understood to be the first infected case in an epidemic has been key to media coverage of major infectious disease outbreaks for more than three decades. Yet the term itself did not exist before the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. How did this idea so swiftly come to exert such a strong grip on the scientific, media, and popular consciousness? In Patient Zero, Richard A. McKay interprets a wealth of archival sources and interviews to demonstrate how this seemingly new concept drew upon centuries-old ideas and fears about contagion and social disorder. McKay presents a carefully documented and sensitively written account of the life of Gaetan Dugas, a gay man whose skin cancer diagnosis in 1980 took on very different meanings as the HIV/AIDS epidemic developed and who received widespread posthumous infamy when he was incorrectly identified as patient zero of the North American outbreak. McKay shows how investigators from the US Centers for Disease Control inadvertently created the term amid their early research into the emerging health crisis; how an ambitious journalist dramatically amplified the idea in his determination to reframe national debates about AIDS; and how many individuals grappled with the notion of patient zero adopting, challenging and redirecting its powerful meanings as they tried to make sense of and respond to the first fifteen years of an unfolding epidemic. With important insights for our interconnected age, Patient Zero untangles the complex process by which individuals and groups create meaning and allocate blame when faced with new disease threats. What McKay gives us here is myth-smashing revisionist history at its best.

In Shock: How Becoming a Patient Made Me a Better Doctor by Dr Rana Awdish (25 Jan 2018)
in shock
‘Urgent and supremely eloquent… In Shock is a book to set alongside the likes of Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, Direct Red by Gabriel Weston and, of course, Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air‘ The Bookseller

At seven months pregnant, intensive care doctor Rana Awdish suffered a catastrophic medical event, haemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. She spent months fighting for her life in her own hospital, enduring multiple major surgeries and a series of organ failures.

Every step of the way, Awdish was faced with something even more unexpected and shocking than her battle to survive: her fellow doctors’ inability to see and acknowledge the pain of loss and human suffering, the result of a self-protective barrier hard-wired in medical training.

In Shock is Rana Awdish’s searing account of her extraordinary journey from doctor to patient, during which she sees for the first time the dysfunction of her profession’s disconnection from patients and the flaws in her own past practice as a doctor. Shatteringly personal yet wholly universal, it is both a brave roadmap for anyone navigating illness and a call to arms for doctors to see each patient not as a diagnosis but as a human being.

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evoluation of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett (21 Feb 2018)
from bacteria

‘Required reading for anyone remotely curious about how they came to be remotely curious’ Observer

‘Enthralling’ Spectator

What is human consciousness and how is it possible? These questions fascinate thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers.

This is Daniel C. Dennett’s brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains and human culture. Part philosophical whodunnit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett’s career at the forefront of philosophical thought. In his inimitable style, laced with wit and thought experiments, Dennett shows how culture enables reflection by installing a profusion of thinking tools, or memes, in our brains, and how language turbocharges this process. The result: a mind that can comprehend the questions it poses, has emerged from a process of cultural evolution.

An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back is essential for anyone who hopes to understand human creativity in all its applications.

 

 

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