Currently Reading: Being Mortal By Atul Gawande

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I started this book Saturday with apprehension because of the subject matter. As I have read approximately 25% of the book, I must say the author does a tremendous job in sizing up American medicine. On the back cover of the book, Malcolm Gladwell sums it up very well.

“American medicine, Being Mortal reminds us, has prepared itself for life but not for death. This is Atul Gawande’s most powerful-and-moving book.”

Some really interesting paragraphs from the book, I wanted to share with our readers that I was unaware of:

From page 32:

“The idea that living things shut down instead of wearing down has received substantial support in recent years. Researchers working with the now famous worm C. elegans (twice in one decade, Nobel Prizes went to scientists doing work on the little nematode) were able, by altering a single gene, to produce worms that live more than twice as long and age more slowly. Scientists have since come up with single-gene alterations that increase the life spans of fruit, mice and yeast.”

From page 33 on inheritance:

“It turns out that inheritance has surprisingly little influence on longevity. James Vaupel, of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, in Rostock, Germany, notes that only 3 percent of how long you’ll live, compared with the average, is explained by your parents’ longevity; by contrast, up to 90 percent of how tall you are is explained by your parents’ height. Even genetically identical twins vary widely in life span; the typical gap is more than fifteen years.”

That information was astounding to me!!!

From page 41:

“The job of any doctor, Bludau (the chief geriatrician at the Center for Older Adult Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA) later told me (Atul Gawande), is to support quality of life, by which he meant two things: as much freedom from the ravages of disease as possible and the retention of enough function for active engagement in the world. Most doctors treat disease and figure that the rest will take care of itself. And if it doesn’t—if a patient is becoming infirm and heading toward a nursing home—well, that isn’t really a medical problem, is it?”

And finally from page 44:

“Several years ago, researchers at the University of Minnesota identified 568 men and women over the age of seventy who were living independently but were at high risk of becoming disabled because of chronic health problems, recent illness, or cognitive changes. With their permission, the researchers randomly assigned half of them to see a team of geriatric nurses and doctors—a team dedicated to the art and science of managing old age. The others were asked to see their usual physician, who was notified of their high-risk status. Within eighteen months, 10 percent of the patients in both groups had died. But the patients who had seen a geriatrics team were a quarter less likely to become disabled and half as likely to develop depression. They were 40 percent less likely to require home health services.”

I urge each of our readers to rush out and purchase a copy of this since it affects each and every one of us in some way. Here is a video from the author about the book:

 

Some Thoughts On Responsibility From Anonymous

“Life is one dodge after another—cars, taxes, and responsibilities.”

“Our actions are our own; their consequences are not.”

“If you would like to keep your feet on the ground, carry some responsibilities on your shoulders.”

“Responsibility develops some men and ruins others.”

“None of us is responsible for all the things that happen to us, but we are responsible for the way we act when they do happen.”

 

Books Of Interest: February 21st, 2015

In my reading Friday night, I came across these three books that may be of interest to our readers:

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Voices In The Band: A Doctor, Her Patients, And How The Outlook On AIDS Care Changed From Doomed To Hopeful     Susan C. Ball

The author is an AIDS doctor based in New York City and has been dealing with AIDS and its tragedies as well as its triumphs since 1992. Dr. Ball recounts the grief and terrible emotions that these patients endure and how there is now hope . However, because of the circumstances and economic situations of these patients, It is an upward struggle. This looks very interesting!

 

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Eradication: Ridding The World Of Diseases Forever?     Nancy Leys Stepan

The author, a medical historian, explores eradication programs such as the Gates Foundation, their beginnings, successes and their origins over the past century. As I moved into public health, these books fascinate me and more than anything educate me on diseases such as ebola, malaria and yellow fever. I am still working on Spillover by David Quammen, which is a different perspective to the same problem. I am purchasing this and putting it in my ever-growing pile.

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Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink To Make Groups Smarter     Cass R. Sunstein And Reid Hastie

The first part of the  book investigates group think and how and why these decisions go awry and the second part goes into methods and advice for making these groups smarter. This may be premature but it seems as an addendum to The Wisdom Of Crowds by James Surowiecki. This looks interesting by the author of Nudge:Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness.

Some Thoughts From Anonymous About Behavior

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“It sometimes looks foolish for folks to be spending so much time loving their enemies when they should be treating their friends a little better.”

“Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes.”

“Nature gave man two ends-one to sit on and one to think with. Man’s success or failure is dependent on the one he uses most.”

“It takes a big man to sympathize—a little man can criticize, and usually does.”

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

Some Thoughts About Adversity From Anonymous

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“Adversity is the only diet that will reduce a fat head.”

“When you’re down and out something always turns up—and it’s usually the noses of your friends.”

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

“Usually it is on the detours that we pick up the tacks.”

“Trouble is what gives a fellow a chance to discover his strength—or lack of it.”

Some Thoughts About Difficulties From Anonymous

“One of the most difficult mountains for people to climb is the one they make out of a molehill.”

“It is usually not so much the greatness of our troubles as the littleness of our spirit which causes us to complain.”

“Have you noticed an optimist is always able to see the bright side of other people’s troubles?”

“Having no food to eat will take your mind off other troubles.”

“When you help the fellow who’s in trouble, he’ll never forget you when he’s in trouble again.”