ISSN 1535-7821 Vol. 27 No. 3 2011
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Susan Smith Jones shares tips on how to improve your life with your diet, exercise, and herbs. The author imparts tips for choosing uplifting words and thoughts; cultivating a tender heart and courage in everything; and celebrating rituals and your relationships. Jones notes in the beginning of the book that much of her advice is based on her personal experiences as a life coach as well as the wisdom that her grandmother, Fritzie passed on to her. The author promises that you can completely change your life in a month if you follow her advice. The writing style is enjoyable if you like self-help books. The book identifies the benefits of many herbs and spices as well as behavioral modification, but there are no citations to the evidence. For example, Jones writes that black pepper is helpful to heal a minor cut. The Natural Standard Database, MedlinePlus and NCCAM do not report any evidence of black pepper as an effective treatment for a minor cut. The author self-promotes by making frequent references to her other books. Jones provides advice including getting a good night’s sleep, meditation and giving thanks for your blessings. "Walking on Air" is filled with theyinspirational quotations, some which are from the Bible. Overall, the book presents advice from a holistic life coach to help the reader live a full, satisfying life.Reviewed by: Michelle Eberle, Consumer Health Information Coordinator,
Lynn, Joanne, Joan Harrold and Janice Lynch Schuster. Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness, Second Edition. Oxford University Press, 2011. 296p. ISBN 978-0-19-974456-5. $24.95.
Handbook for Mortals is aimed at those coping with death or dying. Emphasis is placed on dealing with both the practicalities and emotions faced with common long-term illnesses. Practical concerns such as advanced directives, communicating with the health care team, and DNR’s are addressed and interspersed with firsthand accounts from patients and loved ones, pictures, inspirational quotes or poetry, and suggestions. Both patients and their caretakers will find answers and guidance in Handbook for Mortals. The overall tone of the book is warm and almost welcoming. The easy to read style means people at a variety of reading levels can understand and benefit from the material. While the focus is on those dealing with chronic conditions issues from sudden deaths are also discussed. The book can be read straight through or used like a question and answer book by reading the pertinent chapters or sections. The second edition keeps the same format as the original, but has updated references and legal information sections, such physician assisted suicide. With authors who are recognized leaders in the fields of end-of-life, hospice and palliative care, this book is an excellent addition to any consumer health library, especially those serving elderly or terminal populations.Reviewed by: Courtney Britton, Librarian and Resource Center Coordinator, Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA
Marcus, neurologist, author, and owner of two soft-coated wheaten terrier therapy dogs demonstrates the healing power of man’s best friend in this well-written book highlighting the many facets of therapy dog work. In addition to her current work, the author has written thirteen titles covering health topics and benefits of dogs including, Fit as Fido: Follow Your Dog to Better Health and The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit.
Beginning with an overview of therapy dog work and its differences from the work of service dogs, the author explains the qualities that make a great therapy dog and provides tips to potential, current and new therapy dog handlers.
Throughout the book, Marcus details research examples that support the overall health and mental benefits of therapy dog work and interactions with dogs. Enhancing the work, the author intersperses quotes of observations of therapy dog handlers. In one example, Marcus describes the story of Ricochet, a two year old Golden Retriever who works with disabled people. Ricochet encouraged a young boy who had suffered severe brain injury in a tragic car accident to begin therapeutic surfing. Through the therapeutic surfing program, with Ricochet by his side, Ian has learned to let go of his fears. The author also includes other healing aspects of dogs such promoting health through motivating owners to be active through regular exercise.
The work is well-written, interesting, and is accessible to most readers. This book is recommended for public library and consumer health collections.
Shore, Bill. The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men: Inspiration, Vision, and Purpose in the Quest to End Malaria. Public Affairs, 2010. 297 p. Index not included in review copy. ISBN 978-1-58648-764-5. $25.95.
Malaria kills nearly one million people each year. Author Shore profiles "unreasonable" individuals and organizations dedicated to stopping malaria deaths; an uphill battle at best. To read about the complexity of the malaria problem is to be inspired by the persistence of the men and women fighting the spread of malaria. Interactions of the natural history of the disease, economics, geography, governments, academia, military actions, weather, health policy, philanthropic philosophies, and local customs give the reader a start at appreciating this multi-layered problem.
The final two chapters discuss the philosophies and practical challenges of philanthropic organizations today. While insightful and interesting (Shore and his sister are co-founders of Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger by 2015) they read as "add-ons" to the book’s initial promise to tell us about malaria researchers. There is also a distracting pattern of repeating information already established in earlier chapters.
Recommended for collections with a focus on solving social problems, or in-depth collections about malaria.Reviewed by: Susan C. Shelly, BSN MLS, Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, Glendale, AZ
Half memoir, half self-help book, Beyond Survival: A Patient’s Guide to Managing Complications of Colorectal Cancer chronicles pediatric neurologist Dr. Robert Sieben’s twenty year journey through treatment and recovery. The author’s preface warns that his writing style is intimate and gross. His warning proves true as the reader learns many personal details about his life, and the lives of his family members and friends. Both his narrative and original poems spare no details of his incontinence. The author uses the vernacular and wry humor to get his points across. Unfortunately, incontinence is the only complication he writes about; since he did not experience hair loss, loss of appetite, or many other complications associated with colorectal cancer treatment, information about managing them is not included. While it is interesting reading a physician's viewpoint on coping with a challenging condition, this dual perspective may be may be misunderstood by patients, especially if he gives conflicting advice from their own physicians. For example, one of Dr. Sieben's hints for getting through colonoscopy prep is to "dehydrate some" before starting the prep to become thirstier. The chapter on Lessons from Related Conditions is also somewhat confusing. The author feels that since conditions like irritable bowel syndrome have common side effects with colorectal cancer, reviewing the treatments can be helpful. However, patients could read this chapter and modify their diets for a medical condition they do not even have. While Dr. Seiben is to be commended for writing such a candid narrative, his approach may be better suited to memoir only, rather than disease management.Reviewed by: Cara Marcus, Faulkner Hospital, Boston, MA
The author is a practicing internist, professor at NYU Langone Medical Center and has written several other books including False Alarm: the Truth about the Epidemic of Fear and Bird Flu: Everything You Need to Know about the Next Pandemic. In his latest book, Dr. Siegel examines the mind body connection which he terms the "inner pulse." The focus of the book is to capture the essence of this energy and explain how he thinks it can be an indicator of a patient's ability to recover or maintain health. Each chapter tells the story of a patient and how each case was a lesson for Siegel in how medical expertise and science alone could not explain the outcome. This is not a self-help book for the reader to discover or strengthen his inner pulse. Rather, it is a memoir of a doctor struggling to understand the mysterious reasons why one patient can overcome overwhelming odds and recover when another faced with less dire circumstances does not. Siegel is a skilled storyteller who combines medical facts and research with spirituality and philosophy in search of an elusive force that he claims is within us all. This is a book that will resonate with many general interest readers and may be of interest to medical practitioners as well.Reviewed by: Valerie Sherman, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Akron OH
Consumer Connections (ISSN 1535-7821) is the newsletter of the Consumer and Patient Information Section of the Medical Library Association. It is published on the CAPHIS website quarterly. Notification of publication is sent via the CAPHIS listserv. CAPHIS is the largest section of the Medical Library Association.
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