Typically, I read more non-fiction book. But when I read the first page of this fiction book at the book store, I was hooked. This humorous and witty book is by John Green and its title is “The Fault in Our Stars“.
The following are non-fiction books accounting of near-death experience — or some would argue a more accurate description is death and then a return to life. Non-fiction means that the author is writing what he or she perceive as the truth.
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife
To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story
90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life by
The Secret Life of Your Cells …
The Secret Life of Plants: a Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man
Secret Lives of Ants
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
The Secret Life of Water
The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean
The symptoms of anxiety, irritability, and depression often are related. That is because they can different manifestations of the same underlying imbalance. It is not all in the head. The body and nutrition can affect these moods, as can various effects on neurotransmitter and gut flora balance. Some say they symptoms are related to inflammation of the brain.
Some books to give more insights are …
The Mood Cure starts off Chapter 1 by saying …
“If you’re often feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, you’re not alone. We’re in a bad-mood epidemic, a hundred times more likely to have significant mood problems than people born a hundred years ago.”
Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression is by James S. Gordon M.D. who says that “Depression is not a disease”, but rather that …
“stress and the action of stress hormones are more likely causes of depression and of observed changes in neurotransmitter levels.”
The Chemistry of Calm: A Powerful, Drug-Free Plan to Quiet Your Fears and Overcome Your Anxiety talks more about the biochemistry of mood.
Dr. Ridha Arem wrote the book Thyroid Solution and Thyroid Solution Diet.
Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s book answers the question of Why do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests are Normal.
And Janie Bowthorpe tells us how to Stop the Thyroid Madness.
In the book Living Well with Autoimmune Disease, Mary Shomon gave a tips on a couple of good books on herbal remedies. She writes that Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Alan Tillotson are “two of the world’s premier herbalists” and recommends their books which are Herbal Defense and The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook respectively.
She also mentions the book Dr. Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution which not only have comprehensive information on herbs, but also on vitamins, and minerals. The book also have a section on supplements that can benefit those with autoimmune conditions.
If you are taking a lot of herbs and vitamins, you might also want to consult the A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions.
Are you in the mood for some tech humor. “Love at 1st Byte” is a great compilation of various tech humor. This book is quite rare. At the time of this writing, there were no on eBay and only 3 on Amazon. There is ample preview of this book on Google Books, by the way.
Many know of Deepak Chopra a prolific writer and spiritual guru and founder of the Chopra Center. “Super Brain” is one of the latest book he has worked on. This book has ample preview on Amazon.
Rudolph Tanzi is a neuroscientist who wrote the book “Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease”.
You can see him in the below TEDMED 2010 video …
Dr. Zaldy S Tan’s book Age-Proof Your Mind: Detect, Delay, and Prevent Memory Loss – Before It’s Too Late provides us with steps we can take to help prevent memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Zaldy Tan is the director of The Memory Clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Due to factors such as genetics and childhood environment experiences beyond our control, there is no guaranteed method to prevent Alzheimer’s. However many research has shown that there are things we all can do to tip the odds in our favor against the development of Alzheimer’s — or at least delay it.
Dr. Tan cites many such research studies in the book. He explains the reasons why our minds age and how to protect against brain aging in clear everyday language without excessive technical jargon. Although the book is amply footnoted; so those who are interested can seek out the detailed technical literature.
Memory Stress Test and Memory Improvement Program
In chapter 11, there is a memory stress test where you can take at home (with the help of a friend) so that you can determine the state of your memory at present. However, it does mention that the test is not a substitute for a thorough clinical memory evaluation.
Chapter 12 is the memory improvement program where it provides memory techniques such as visualization, association, chunking, and Loci method to help you remember things better. There is also the “Sixty Minute Brain Workout” to exercise your concentration, recall, and executive function.
Chapter 4 “Oxygen Damage and the Brain: To E or Not to E” is especially informative about the role of vitamin E in protecting the brain against oxidative stress.
Appendix A has some food recipes for brain-healthy dishes.
Page 117 has a photograph of Albert Einstein’s brain.
To summarize a few points from the book …
Proper diet, adequate exercise, and stress reduction will help keep your brain healthy. Controlling and reducing inflammation is also beneficial. Anti-oxidants (such as vitamin E) is helpful for promoting brain health.
The book also has several case studies of some patients.
In 2009, the book Why Our Health Matters by Dr. Andrew Weil is about his views of the what is wrong with the health care system and how to fix it.
Dr. Andrew Weil is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. He has written numerous best-selling books and have been on TV specials. He was on the Time Magazine cover in 1997 and 2005 and had been recognized by Time Magazine as among one of the most influential people.
Dr. Weil “believes strongly and passionately that every American has a right to good health care that is effective, accessible, and affordable, that serves you from infancy through old age, that allows you to go to practitioners and facilities of your choosing, and that offers a broad range of therapeutic options.”[p4]
Dr. Weil says “The priorities and motives of those who manage for-profit medical enterprises are fundamentally at odds with those of physicians, patients, and good medical practice. … I am convinced that our health insurance system should not be fiercely profit driven.”[p25]
If the main objective of insurance companies is to make money, then of course they will have an incentive to restrict coverage and deny claims while increasing premiums.
Three Myths of the Health Care System
Dr. Weil speaks of three myths:[p11]
Myth #1: It is a myth that because America has the most expensive health care, it is the best.
The reality is that many developed countries rank far better than the United States in many measures.
Myth #2: It is a myth that medical technology is the single greatest assets.
Dr. Weil believes that we over-use our technology which drives up costs.
Myth #3: It is a myth that our medical schools produce the world’s finest physicians.
Dr. Weil believes that there are gaps in the medical educational system such as that they do not focus enough on nutrition and mind-body integrative medicine.
United States Ranks Poorly
In year 2000, the World Health Organization rated the health care system of many countries. They ranked United States at number 37. United State was just behind Costa Rica in the rankings. And United State just ranked one above Slovenia. According to this table, France, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Austria, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Chile, Israel, Colombia and many more countries all ranked better than the United States.
United States Spends the Most
However, it is true that United States spends more per capita on health care than any other country.
Dr. Weil attribute this fact to two things …
1) We do not focus enough on prevention. We intervene only when the disease has been established.
2) Over-dependence on high-tech interventions.[p9] Also, doctors often run expensive scans in fear of lawsuits.[p31]
Cost of medical care has become the leading cause of personal bankruptcy.[p7]
In 2007, our total health care spending is $2.3 trillion which amounts to $7,600 for every American. Our health care represent 16% of the the United States GDP and is predicted to be 20% of GDP within 6 or 7 years. For France and Canada, their health care represents only 9% of their GDP.[p18]
Starbucks spends more for the health care of their workers than for the beans to make their coffees. [p22]
Examples of some of the costs…
For those who have not been through America’s health care system, here are some examples of the amount of average cost cited in the book [p17]…
• Prescription medicine: $70
• Hospital room per day: $1700
• Adult visiting emergency room: $700
• Uncomplicated hospital birth: $8000
• Cardiac stress test: $1900
• Heart Attach: $45,000 to $50,000
• Initial treatment for common cancers: $40,000
Examples of Doctor’s Salaries
Page 37 gives some salary figures of doctor’s and you can see why many opt to become specialists instead of family practitioners. These are annual numbers…
• Family practitioners: $175,000
• General Internists: $204,000
• Radiologists: $911,000
• Orthopedic surgeons: $852,000
• Cardiovascular surgeons: $1,352,000
Medicines that Dr. Weil Believes In
Dr. Weil believes in a holistic approach to treatment and prevention that includes …
• Manual medicine — this includes professional massage therapy
• Botanical and Chinese medicine — including herbal formulas and acupuncture
• Mind/Body medicine — including stress reduction
• Nutritional medicine — obesity (which contributes to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer) can be partially addressed by eating right and avoiding pro-inflammatory foods.
• Dietary Supplements — useful insurance against gaps in diet.
• Exercise — it not only burn calories, but raises mood by increasing endorphins and dopamine, decrease chance of age-related dementia, and increase cells sensitivity to insulin and reducing risk of type-2 diabetes.
What we eat is just as big of a factor as how much we eat. The rise in obesity is caused by the United State’s food system replacing whole natural foods with refined manufactured food with added things like high fructose corn syrup. The latter is what is cheap and available and so that is what we eat. Dr. Weil says he has a hard time finding “real food” in a convenience store. In a supermarket, he can only find real food in the periphery.
This change in diet is causing metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Obesity is linked to more than 30 medical conditions including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and osteoarthritis.
In order to move to preventative care and reduce obesity, Dr. Weil believes that Americans need to improve their health literacy.
In the last chapter, Dr. Weil writes “Throughout this book I have insisted that a free democratic society must guarantee basic health care to all its citizens and that this must not be thwarted by medicine that operates in a predominantly for-profit mode, with the collusion of a rapacious insurance industry and a passive government.”