The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind By Barbara Lipska

In her new book, The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Barbara Lipska describes surviving cancer that had spread to her brain, and how the illness changed her cognition, character and, ultimately, her understanding of the mental illnesses she studies.

One spring morning in 2015, Barbara Lipska got up as usual, dyed her hair and went for a jog in her suburban Virginia neighbourhood.

But when she returned from a much longer than expected run, her husband Mirek was completely taken aback.

“I was lost in my own neighbourhood,” Lipska says. “The hair dye that I put in my hair that morning dripped down my neck. I looked like a monster when I came back home.”

Although she now lucidly recalls that moment, at the time she was oblivious to her unusual appearance and behaviour.

Lipska studies the neuroscience of mental illness and brain development at the National Institute of Mental Health. In her work she’s examined the molecular structure of the brains of people who were so afflicted with schizophrenia or other disorders that they took their own lives.

And for two months in 2015, she developed similar symptoms of dementia and schizophrenia — only to learn they were the effects of cancerous tumours, growing in her brain.

With thanks to NPR for the interview.

The Gerson Institute Launches The Gerson Therapy Cookbook

Developed by Gerson chefs, the new Gerson Therapy Cookbook is the most comprehensive and accurate cooking guide in Gerson Institute history – it’s like having a Gerson chef in your kitchen!

On the Gerson Therapy, food is medicine. Each bite brings healing closer, but we know it can be a challenge to adjust to this new diet and leave favourite foods behind. That’s why we thoughtfully crafted each recipe with love and care to make sure your Gerson Therapy meals taste good and feel good. With this cookbook, patients become empowered with the knowledge and principles of cooking the Gerson way so they can create variety with their own personalised recipes.

The Gerson Therapy Cookbook is available from The Gerson Institute.

A Commotion in the Blood — Life, Death, And The Immune System By Stephen S Hall

acomossioninthebloodIt was in 1884 that a migrant house-painter in New York with a recurrent, aggressive cancer behind his ear — a four-inch ‘ugly, ominous bunch of grapes’ — underwent a fourth surgery to attempt to save his life, but the cancer was so large and invasive that the wound could not even be closed after the procedure. Left with an open crater in his neck and a virtual death sentence, the unfortunate man developed a raging skin infection that itself might have ended his life precipitously in those days before antibiotics. Instead, he survived the infection and a second one, and — to the astonishment of his surgeons — the cancerous ulcer healed and the malignancy disappeared.

This strange occurrence might have been relegated to some forgotten file of medical miracles had it not been noticed by a young surgeon devastated by the death several years later of one of his own patients with a similar cancer. Searching the “literature” of that time, William S Coley was struck by the juxtaposition of infection and cancer cure in the immigrant. He began a lifelong quest for a bacterial substance he believed would cure what was thought to be incurable. While he never learned that it wasn’t the organisms but the substances the body produced to fight them that had demolished the house-painter’s sarcoma, his work — and that of a phalanx of brilliant investigators since then — has pushed the boundaries of scientific knowledge of the human immune system to a level of complexity extraordinary enough to challenge even the most scientifically sophisticated. It is to his very great credit that Stephen S. Hall, in his book, A Commotion in the Blood — Life, Death, And The Immune System, has been able to construct a clear, engaging, carefully documented chronicle of the investigations and discoveries that have begun to delineate the science underpinning such miracles, and to do so even-handedly and with great empathy for the scientists, patients and doctors involved.

As recently as the early 1970s, standard medical texts contained almost nothing about Coley or others who utilized ingenuity and innovation to try to attack cancer immunologically in the face of a paucity of scientific information about the human immune system; those same texts contained little about the genetic or molecular biology of immunity. But the potential and the perils of delving into the body’s immune regulators to find those that could be stimulated to search out and destroy cancer exploded into international consciousness in 1975, when Fortune Magazine proclaimed a “Cancer Breakthrough” on its cover and reported that NIH scientist Dr Steven A Rosenberg’s work with two such immune substances had produced results “unheard of in cancer drugs.” (They were interleukin-2 and LAK cells; the former stimulates growth and development of one important group of the body’s infection-fighting cells, and was accidentally discovered during a search for a virus that might cause leukaemia; the latter are cells fished out of a pool of mouse lymphocytes that were found to kill cancer in the test tube).

In the last 20 years, new genetics corporations have emerged, sunk into bankruptcy, and been supplanted by others as first the promise, and later the profound problems, of using interleukin-2, tumour necrosis factor, interferon and other substances wrestled from the body’s immune armamentarium rocked the medical community and jolted research machines into high gear. Reputations and fortunes have been risked and sometimes lost in pursuit of a cure for cancer. Tantalizing fragments of the immune puzzle have been pieced together, and there have been impressive cures of some advanced melanomas, sarcomas and other cancers. But the financial costs have been mind-boggling, and an even more painful price has been paid in adverse effects of the immune modulators themselves on cancer patients — debilitation, long stays in intensive care units, sometimes death.

Stephen Hall, has scrupulously documented the gains and the price. He has searched the archives, interviewed scores of scientists, sat with people who have survived their cancers and talked with those who have subsequently died. He opens windows for readers into the laboratories where this highly exacting, tedious work is done and notes the fits and quirks of the sometimes haphazard process of discovery. He makes it possible to begin to grasp the order and timing of the immunologic discoveries of the last two decades and helps to make sense of what even medical professionals have found to be an overwhelming accumulation of information — and he does so with cleverness and patience and clarity. While the efficacy of immune regulators as cancer fighters remains problematic, impressive spin-offs have contributed substantially to human welfare. Substances have been identified and produced, such as the interferon used to treat hepatitis B and C and multiple sclerosis; erythropoietin (a stimulator of red blood cell development), which treats some previously untreatable anaemias; and stimulating factors that promote the growth of new white blood cells to help fight infection in people whose white blood cells have been destroyed. Stephen Hall’s book is fascinating and, in a sense, compelling.

On behalf of courageous people with cancer who have put their lives and well-being on the line to contribute to this research, and for physicians and scientists who have struggled to develop the technology to sustain their creative imaginings, the rest of us ought to read it and understand how difficult the task has been and how profound the challenges are that remain.

Dirty Medicine: The Handbook By Martin J Walker

Dirty Medicine: The Handbook, is a follow-up to ‘Dirty Medicine ‘ that appeared in 1993. Anybody involved in alternative medicine will be aware of direct and also subterfuge campaigns by powerful interests against them. Obviously in a pluralistic society other viewpoints will challenge and so it should be. If somebody invents a bizarre new form of therapy this should be looked at in a sceptical manner. However this book argues that ‘scientific corporatism’ is attempting to gain complete control in an anti-democratic and sinister manner.

This book aims to give a resume of the most important players in these attacks. The book has a strong political component which argues that ’20th century industrial capitalism’ is inadequate to protect the public interest. Science is seen as taken over by vested corporate interests who are out to crush challenges to their ways of thinking.

Quotations From The Book

Twenty years ago, the use of undercover groups and disinformation in aid of competitive marketing was restricted to a small number of toxic industries, such as those of asbestos and tobacco. As the run–down of the public sector has moved relentlessly forward, and the spaces left by ‘independent’ government–led bodies have been filled by corporate industry groups, so lobbying, undercover groups and disinformation have become, instead of peculiarities, the order of the day.

Just as, in 1985, one might have mistrusted a news item obviously promoted by the tobacco industry, today it would be unwise to believe any news item about science and environmentally caused illnesses. Today almost all information about the environmental causes of ill health is corrupted with hidden messages slipped in by corporate interests.

…the public relations industry has changed radically over the past 30 years, from an industry that promoted the good effects of products and services, to an industry primarily concerned with hiding or downplaying the high–risk, high–damage aspects of products and services. … If we are looking for an analysis of how unsafe products are protected, we need look no further than the structure of the PR industry and its connections with government.

Dirty Medicine: The Handbook, is available at The College of Naturopathic Medicine. The college, is one of the UK’s largest, highly-respected and well-known natural-medicine training providers, with sites in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, and Manchester.

Wheat Belly By Dr William Davis

Renowned cardiologist, Dr William Davis, explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.

Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls “wheat bellies.” According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: It’s due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.

After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic―and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. In Wheat Belly, Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat”, and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.

Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat, Wheat Belly is an illuminating look at what is truly making Americans sick and an action plan to clear our plates of this seemingly benign ingredient.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma By Michael Pollan

The best-selling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the twenty-first century

“What should we have for dinner?” To one degree or another this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore’s dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn’t-which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America , and much of the western worldconfronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore’s dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance. The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we’re realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is best-selling author Michael Pollan’s brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.

Pollan has divided The Omnivore’s Dilemma into three parts, one for each of the food chains that sustain us: industrialized food, alternative or “organic” food, and food people obtain by dint of their own hunting, gathering, or gardening. Pollan follows each food chain literally from the ground up to the table, emphasizing our dynamic co-evolutionary relationship with the species we depend on. He concludes each section by sitting down to a meal–at McDonald’s, at home with his family sharing a dinner from Whole Foods, and in a revolutionary “beyond organic” farm in Virginia. For each meal he traces the provenance of everything consumed, revealing the hidden components we unwittingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods reflects our environmental and biological inheritance.

We are indeed what we eat-and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as What shall we have for dinner?

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, is available at online retailers and bookstores, and in several formats.

Follow Your Gut — The Enormous Impact Of Tiny Microbes By Professor Rob Knight

followyourgutAllergies, obesity, acne: these are just a few of the conditions that may be caused — and someday cured — by the microscopic life inside us. How does this groundbreaking science influence your health, mood and more? Pioneering scientist Rob Knight pairs with award-winning science journalist Brendan Buhler to explain why these new findings matter to everyone.

In just the last few years, scientists have shown how the microscopic life within our bodies — particularly within our intestines — has an astonishing impact on our lives. Your health, mood, sleep patterns, eating preferences — even your likelihood of getting bitten by mosquitoes — can be traced in part to the tiny creatures that live on and inside of us.

In Follow Your Gut, pioneering scientist Rob Knight pairs with award-winning science journalist Brendan Buhler to explain — with good humour and easy-to-grasp examples — why these new findings matter to everyone. They lead a detailed tour of the previously unseen world inside our bodies, calling out the diseases and conditions believed to be most directly impacted by them. With a practical eye toward deeper knowledge and better decisions, they also explore the known effects of antibiotics, probiotics, diet choice and even birth method on our children’s lifelong health.

Ultimately, this pioneering book explains how to learn about your own microbiome and take steps toward understanding and improving your health, using the latest research as a guide.

How many microbes are in your body? You are made up of about 10 trillion human cells — but there are about 100 trillion microbial cells in and on your body. Which means: you are mostly not you. We’re discovering that microbes are deeply integrated into almost all aspects of our lives. Indeed, microbes are redefining what it means to be human.

Professor Rob Knight: Follow Your Gut — The Enormous Impact Of Tiny Microbes

Follow Your Gut, is available at TED Books, and at online retailers and bookstores, in several formats. The image shown, is the hardback edition.

The Laws of Medicine By Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee

Essential, required reading for doctors and patients alike: A Pulitzer Prize-winning author and one of the world’s premiere cancer researchers reveals an urgent philosophy on the little-known principles that govern medicine, and how understanding these principles can empower us all.

Over a decade ago, when Siddhartha Mukherjee was a young, exhausted, and isolated medical resident, he discovered a book that would forever change the way he understood the medical profession. The book, The Youngest Science, forced Dr Mukherjee to ask himself an urgent, fundamental question: Is medicine a “science”? Sciences must have laws — statements of truth based on repeated experiments that describe some universal attribute of nature. But does medicine have laws like other sciences?

Dr Mukherjee has spent his career pondering this question — a question that would ultimately produce some of the most serious thinking he would do around the tenets of his discipline — culminating in The Laws Of Medicine. In this important treatise, he investigates the most perplexing and illuminating cases of his career that ultimately led him to identify the three key principles that govern medicine.

Brimming with fascinating historical details and modern medical wonders, this important book is a fascinating glimpse into the struggles and Eureka! moments that people outside of the medical profession rarely see. Written with Dr Mukherjee’s signature eloquence and passionate prose, The Laws Of Medicine is a critical book, not just for those in the medical profession, but for everyone who is moved to better understand how their health and well-being is being treated. Ultimately, this book lays the groundwork for a new way of understanding medicine, now and into the future.

The Laws Of Medicine, is available at online retailers and bookstores, and in several formats.

Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation By F William Engdahl

seedsofdestructionSeeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, is a skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO.  Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace.

Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, is available at online retailers and bookstores, and in several formats.

The Vandana Shiva Reader By Dr Vandana Shiva

thevandanashivareaderHer great virtue as an advocate is that she is not a reductionist. Her awareness of the complex connections among economy and nature and culture preserves her from oversimplification. So does her understanding of the importance of diversity.

Wendell Berry

Motivated by agricultural devastation in her home country of India, Vandana Shiva became one of the world’s most influential and highly acclaimed environmental and antiglobalization activists. Her groundbreaking research has exposed the destructive effects of monocultures and commercial agriculture and revealed the links between ecology, gender, and poverty.

In The Vandana Shiva Reader, Dr Shiva assembles her most influential writings, combining trenchant critiques of the corporate monopolisation of agriculture with a powerful defense of biodiversity and food democracy. Containing up-to-date data and a foreword by Wendell Berry, this essential collection demonstrates the full range of Shiva’s research and activism, from her condemnation of commercial seed technology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the international agriculture industry’s dependence on fossil fuels, to her tireless documentation of the extensive human costs of ecological deterioration.

This important volume illuminates Shiva’s profound understanding of both the perils and potential of our interconnected world and calls on citizens of all nations to renew their commitment to love and care for soil, seeds, and people.