Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, Barnosky on Extinction, Dealing with Dementia, & More | Science & Technology Reviews

redstarAptowicz, Cristin O’Keefe. Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine. Gotham. Sept. 2014. 384p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781592408702. $27.50. MED

drmarvels090414In 1858, Thomas Dent Mütter (1811–59) bequeathed to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia his large collection of medical specimens, and the Mütter Museum remains one of the most highly regarded repositories of its kind. Little is known about the American-born surgeon whose collection took his name; none of Mütter’s diaries and only a few of his letters survive, and he and his wife had no children. ­Aptowicz (poet and former writer-in-residence, Univ. of Pennsylvania) has penned a fast-moving and popular history of the early to mid-­ 19th-century American and Parisian medical worlds, making the most of works by and about Mütter’s contemporaries. The book connects the dots among the doctor’s youthful dandyism, his attractiveness, his kindness toward his patients, and his fascination with what we would today call reconstructive plastic surgery, of which he was a pioneer. Mütter operated successfully on patients with cleft palate, clubfoot, burn scars, and other disfiguring conditions. One of several histories of the museum was written by Gretchen Worden (Mütter Museum, 2002), the author’s mentor, but this is the first bio­graphy of Mütter. The finished version of the book promises to have more than “80 black-and-white historical photographs and illustrations,” some quite graphic. ­VERDICT Written for the general public, this will be of great interest to large public libraries. Index not seen.—Martha Stone, Treadwell Lib., Boston

redstarBarnosky, Anthony. Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth. Univ. of California. Oct. 2014. 242p. notes. ISBN 9780520274372. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780520959095. NAT HIST

dodgingextinction090414According to the best scientific evidence, some 20,000 species of plants and animals are headed for extinction in the next few centuries. Paleontologist Barnosky (integrative biology, Univ. of California, Berkeley) describes how this crisis is a result of human activity—burning fossil fuels, converting wildlife habitats into farm and pasture land, and overhunting. The author convincingly argues that to avoid a sixth mass extinction (Earth has undergone five others), we must change the way we generate energy, ramp up food production, and shift our focus to the long-term benefits of intact eco­systems (such as standing rain forests). While Barnosky is an optimist about the human potential to implement more ecologically sound alternatives, he’s also a realist who recognizes that we must overcome a great deal of political, social, and cultural inertia toward changing our ways. VERDICT A superior synthesis of recent research from many scientific disciplines, this eloquent book could serve as a model for how scientists should write for nonspecialists about the critical environmental challenges of our time. An excellent companion to Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction.—­Cynthia Lee Knight, formerly with ­Hunterdon Cty. Lib., Flemington, NJ

redstarEmlen, Douglas J. (text) & David J. Tuss (illus.). Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle. Holt. Nov. 2014. 288p. notes. ISBN 9780805094503. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9781429947398. NAT HIST

animalweapons090414Deer with magnificent antlers are disadvantaged in that they must find more food and expend more energy carrying around these heavy weapons than other deer. Antler growth can leach nutrients from other bones causing seasonal osteoporosis; the benefit is that other animals are deterred by the antlers, reducing the need to engage in conflict. In this title, Emlen (biology, Univ. of Montana; Evolution) compares the selection for large antlers to an arms race among governments—during the Cold War, for example. Beginning with camouflage and ending with weapons of mass destruction, the author juxtaposes the evolution of the armaments of the animal kingdom with those of humankind. Seamlessly inserted in the book are ­Emlen’s own adventures conducting scientific research on beetles, eye-opening accounts that could inspire future scientists to follow in his footsteps. VERDICT Emlen’s excellent writing will draw in readers intrigued by astonishingly powerful weapons, both in the wild and in the military, and how they have evolved owing to selective pressures. Though Philip Street’s Animal Weapons describes a greater variety of animal defenses, Emlen’s book is a more compelling read because it focuses on the parallels between animal and humans in this regard.—­Laurie ­Neuerburg, Victoria Coll.-Univ. of Houston Lib.

Dealing with Dementia

What If It’s Not Alzheimer’s? A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia. 3d ed. Prometheus. Oct. 2014. 340p. ed. by Gary Radin & Lisa Radin. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781616149680. pap. $19; ebk. ISBN 9781616149697. HEALTH

Experts estimate that around two million people in the United States suffer from severe dementia, and another one to five million experience mild to moderate cases. While most people associate dementia with Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) accounts for around five percent of the cases. The coauthors, son and wife of an FTD sufferer, cared for their loved one until he died at 58. This third edition of their book ably gathers the significant medical developments of the last seven years into an excellent guide for caregivers. Sections written by experts and experienced caregivers cover the medical and genetic aspects of FTD, working with health professionals, medical therapy options, rehabilitation interventions, the stages of the disease, and practical aspects of daily care. ­VERDICT While there is some overlap among the individual chapters, this guide presents a wealth of medical information, written in terms the interested layperson can understand, as well as practical advice. One of the few books to discuss FTD specifically, this is an invaluable resource for patients, family, and friends, as well as health-care providers.—Marcia G. Welsh, ­Dartmouth Coll. Lib., Hanover, NH

redstarWoodell, Patricia & others. Are the Keys in the Freezer? An Advocate’s Guide for Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias. CreateSpace: Amazon. 2014. 121p. ISBN 9781492927440. pap. $11.95. HEALTH

arethekeysinthefreezer090414In 2011, the mother of sisters Woodell (ret. project manager and instructor, Alaska Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development, Anchorage), Brenda Niblock (ret. health educator; volunteer public speaker and educator for Donate Life Northwest), and Jeri Warner (ret. physical therapist, Kaiser Permanente) died as a result of advanced dementia. The personal, medical, and legal experiences gained and lessons learned by the sisters over the preceding six years of care form the backbone of this work that will be priceless to families facing a similar road. The authors remark that in writing the book they interviewed psychology, law, and medical professionals; visited facilities with different care philosophies; sought various stakeholders’ views about changes in the industry; and compiled lists of national resources for other families. Chapters such as “Coming to Terms with Dementia,” “Care Facilities: Making the Right Move,” “Advocacy in Medical Care,” and “Hospice and Palliative Care” go into great detail on, for example, figuring out the costs of living in a care facility vs. at home, negotiating care-facility agreements and costs, health-care proxies and advanced directives, and how carers can stay in touch with others for support. The combination of the detailed information with the insights gained from caring for a loved one with the condition makes this essential for affected families. VERDICT As the authors note, 20 million people are caring for 5.4 million patients with dementia. This excellent work will, unfortunately, find a wide audience.—Henrietta Verma, Library Journal

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
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Agriculture

Gilbert, Matthew. Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9781250014221. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250014214. PETS

Health & Medicine

Makris, Katina I. Out of the Woods: Healing from Lyme Disease for Body, Mind, and Spirit. Helios. Sept. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781629146560. pap. $14.95. HEALTH

Ullman, Judyth Reichenberg & Robert Ullman. The Savvy Traveler’s Guide to Homeopathy and Natural Medicine: Tips To Stay Healthy Wherever You Go! Picnic Point. 2014. 224p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9780964065499. pap. $22.95. HEALTH

 

Home Economics

Barrow, Cathy. Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving. Norton. Nov. 2014. 448p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393240733. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780393245868. HOME ECON

Gilbert, Sandra M. The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity. Norton. 2014. 448p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393067651. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393244038. COOKING

Katzinger, Jennifer (text) & Charity Burggraaf (photos). Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners. Sasquatch. 2014. 176p. index. ISBN 9781570618918. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781570618925. COOKING

LaFrieda, Pat & Carolynn Carreño. Meat: Everything You Need To Know. Atria. Sept. 2014. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9781476725994. $50; ebk. ISBN 9781476726014. COOKING

Martin, Colette. The Allergy-Free Pantry: Make Your Own Staples, Snacks, and More Without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts. Experiment. Sept. 2014. 328p. photos. index. ISBN 9781615192083. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781615192090. COOKING

Phan, Michelle. Make Up Your Life: Your Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success—Online and Off. Harmony: Crown. Oct. 2014. 240p. index. ISBN 9780804137348. $23. PERSONAL GROOMING

Solmonson, David & Lesley Jacobs Solmonson. The 12 Bottle Bar: A Dozen Bottles. Hundreds of Cocktails. Workman. 2014. 400p. photos. index. ISBN 9780761174943. pap. $13.95; ebk. ISBN 9780761181385. BEVERAGES

Sciences

Adams, Colin. Zombies and Calculus. Princeton Univ. Oct. 2014. 240p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691161907. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400852017. MATH

redstarCrease, Robert P. & Alfred Scharff Goldhaber. The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us To Love Uncertainty. Norton. Oct. 2014. 352p. photos. notes. ISBN 9780393067927. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393245998. SCI

Darling, Seth & Doug Sisterson. How To Change Minds About Our Changing Climate. Experiment. 2014. 224p. illus. ISBN 9781615192236. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781615192243. SCI

Lincoln, Don. The Large Hadron Collider: The Extraordinary Story of the Higgs Boson and Other Stuff That Will Blow Your Mind. Johns Hopkins. Sept. 2014. 240p. illus. ISBN 9781421413518. $29.95. SCI

Moses, Tai (text) & Dave Buchen (illus.). Zooburbia: Meditations on the Wild Animals Among Us. Parallax. 2014. 272p. illus. ISBN 9781937006679. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781937006686. NAT HIST

The Science Book. DK. 2014. 352p. illus. index. ISBN 9781465419651. $25. SCI

van Dooren, Thom. Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction. Columbia Univ. (Critical Perspectives on Animals). 2014. 208p. photos. bibliog. notes. index. ISBN 9780231166188. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780231537445. NAT HIST

Winston, Mark L. Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive. Harvard Univ. Oct. 2014. 276p. bibliog. ISBN 9780674368392. $24.95. NAT HIST

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