H T ADULT Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity. By Ronald Epstein.
Jan. 2017. 288p. Scribner, $26 (9781501121715); e-book
In 1999, Epstein published what has come
to be known as a landmark article, “
Mindful Practice,” in the Journal of the American
Medical Association. This is a sequel of sorts, as
Epstein discusses the qualities and habits that
define truly great doctors. The secret, he has
concluded, is mindfulness. “Awareness of my
own mind might be one of the most important tools I could have in addressing patients’
needs,” he explains. He learned on the job
how to turn inward in order to help himself
help his patients. He now shares his personal
manifesto, defining and emphasizing the practice of mindful self-awareness, self-monitoring,
and self-regulation, which, he believes, are the
foundations of “good judgment, compassion,
and attentive care.” Epstein discusses such topics as curiosity, intuition, and how to respond
to suffering. He also addresses that most common of doctor complaints, burnout, which
he contends is a national epidemic. Epstein
concludes with thoughts on how to create a
mindful health-care system, in this caring and
optimistic view of medicine. —June Sawyers
Citizen Science: How Ordinary People
Are Changing the Face of Discovery.
By Caren Cooper.
Dec. 2016. 320p. Overlook, $28.95 (9781468308679). 500.
It’s a huge task for a single researcher to
cover the vast areas and numerous observations needed for thorough scientific research,
so bring on the citizen scientists. Thousands of
children, adults, retired seniors, and even prisoners are enticed by the promise of discovery,
camaraderie, and purpose. Cooper, the assistant director of a North Carolina Museum of
Natural Science research lab, explores the history and contributions of volunteer scientists.
Some are inspired by hobbies (weather buffs
chart rainfall, birders keep checklists, butterfly
lovers track Monarchs, amateur astronomers
peer through telescope lenses). Others donate
their computer downtime to help power huge
research projects, swab their bellybuttons, or
photograph predators. Some track sea turtles,
document local pollution, or partner with
AIDS researchers. Utilizing home computers
and cell phones, these ardent citizen scientists play important roles. Their research often
leads to advocating for local conservation and
ecological programs as well as supplying much-needed data to a wide range of scientific studies.
Cooper’s technically detailed celebration of citizen science may well prompt readers to join the
growing community. —Candace Smith
The Drug Hunters: The Improbable Quest
to Discover New Medicines.
By Donald R. Kirsch and Ogi Ogas.
Jan. 2017. 312p. Arcade, $24.99 (9781628727180);
e-book (9781628727197). 615.1072.
Kirsch, a veteran drug hunter, and Ogas,
Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our
a talented science writer, expertly chronicle
the search for lifesaving medications. Early
humans stumbled across substances like opi-
um, the active ingredient of the poppy, and
fungi with antibiotic and anti-hemorrhaging
properties. (The 5,000-year-old Ice Mummy,
found intact in Italy in 1991, had special
mushrooms strapped to his legs.) But like
modern researchers, they also relied on trial-
and-error screening. The results then and now
could be miraculous (penicillin for infections
or vitamin C for scurvy); they could also be
fatal. Digitalis, extracted from the plant called
foxglove, served as a poison in primitive ar-
rows; today, it’s used to treat congestive heart
failure. The authors note that it’s more ex-
pensive than ever to come up with new drugs
because of restrictive patent laws and strict,
extensive FDA regulations. This high cost
creates financial incentives to come up with
medicines (like pills for high blood pressure)
that must be bought repeatedly rather than
medicines (like vaccines) that produce cures.
A fascinating read full of surprising facts and
intriguing connections. —Karen Springen
By David Grinspoon.
Dec. 2016. 544p. Grand Central, $28 (9781455589128);
e-book, $14.99 (9781455589135). 508.
Now that climate scientists have established
beyond a reasonable doubt that man-made
greenhouse gases play a major role in global
warming, it’s becoming transparently obvious that we humans are effectively behind the
wheel, driving Earth toward its ultimate fate,
for good or ill. In the face of this stark reality,
one question becomes equally clear: How do
we as a species steer the planet in the right
direction to save ourselves and our fellow
creatures? An astrobiologist by training, as
well as a frequent advisor to NASA on space
© 2016 National Geographic Partners, LLC
DISTRIBUTED BY PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
Personal, intimate, and exquisitely
reported, A Series of Catastrophes &
Miracles is a human dispatch from the
front lines of cancer.
With subtlety and wry humor, Williams
shares her story and illuminates the
human side of medicine, the exhu-berant account of tenacity it takes to
weather this disease, and the healing
power of connection.
288 pages I 9-1/8” x 10-7/8”
$26.00 US/$30.00 Can
I READ. LAUGH. CRY.
AN EXTRAORDINARY SURVIVAL STORY
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