Episodit

  • Over the past seventy years, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, has evolved from a virtually unknown and little-used pamphlet to an imposing and comprehensive compendium of mental disorder. Its nearly 300 conditions have become the touchstones for the diagnoses that patients receive, students are taught, researchers study, insurers reimburse, and drug companies promote. Although the manual is portrayed as an authoritative corpus of psychiatric knowledge, it is a product of intense political conflicts, dissension, and factionalism. The manual results from struggles among psychiatric researchers and clinicians, different mental health professions, and a variety of patient, familial, feminist, gay, and veterans' interest groups. The DSM is fundamentally a social document that both reflects and shapes the professional, economic, and cultural forces associated with its use.
    In DSM: A History of Psychiatry's Bible (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021), Allan V. Horwitz examines how the manual, known colloquially as "psychiatry's bible," has been at the center of thinking about mental health in the United States since its original publication in 1952. The first book to examine its entire history, this volume draws on both archival sources and the literature on modern psychiatry to show how the history of the DSM is more a story of the growing social importance of psychiatric diagnoses than of increasing knowledge about the nature of mental disorder. Despite attempts to replace it, Horwitz argues that the DSM persists because its diagnostic entities are closely intertwined with too many interests that benefit from them.
    This comprehensive treatment should appeal to not only specialists but also anyone who is interested in how diagnoses of mental illness have evolved over the past seven decades—from unwanted and often imposed labels to resources that lead to valued mental health treatments and social services.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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  • Political Mourning: Identity and Responsibility in the Wake of Tragedy (Temple UP, 2021) moves us, as readers, beyond the stages of grief to consider the effects of mourning. While grief consists of the internal thoughts, feelings, and ideas surrounding a loss, the process of mourning transforms grief into an external expression of those interior experiences. Political Theorist Heather Pool explores the political components to public mourning and poses the question: why are the deaths of certain people politically significant, or what makes an individual’s death politically important? Using critical and normative political theory, Pool answers this question by delving into political identities and the conceptions of responsibility to understand how they coincide with changes and shifts within politics and political institutions.
    Pool begins the analysis with an exploration of the importance of public mourning within politics; she dissects political identities, framing the edges of belonging, and defining responsibility. To frame the exploration of the central cases within Political Mourning, Pool unpacks how political identity contributes to our understandings of the value of an individual’s life, and how that person or those people were contextualized within American society. This framework also integrates the role of responsibility among the citizenry in relation to these deaths, interrogating how these events and tragedies came to shape political outcomes that evolved from these events and tragedies. Pool examines political mourning in four separate cases that span the past American century, including the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, the 2001 September 11th attacks in the United States, and the most recent Black Lives Matter movement—which encompasses a number of different deaths. Within each of these cases, Pool explores the competing political identities, the purpose and ways that these events became visible or legible to the public, and the implications for political institutions. Political Mourning is a fascinating and important examination of the politics of mourning, providing an understanding as to why the public is more fully aware of cases like the killing of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland, but may not be aware of other deaths that occurred under similar circumstances. Given when Political Mourning went to press, Pool was able to provide a brief Afterward that focuses on the COVID19 pandemic and the impact that this mass-casualty event, through which we are all living, may have on our response to grief and mourning. Political Mourning: Identity and Responsibility in the Wake of Tragedy weaves together political theory and politics to help us better understand the process of mourning, and provides readers with concepts and analysis that extend far beyond the disciplinary borders of political science.
    Shaina Boldt assisted with this podcast.
    Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at lgoren@carrollu.edu or tweet to @gorenlj.
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  • Dr Daniel Gibbs is one of 50 million people worldwide with an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis. Unlike most patients with Alzheimer's, however, Dr Gibbs worked as a neurologist for twenty-five years, caring for patients with the very disease now affecting him. Also unusual is that Dr Gibbs had begun to suspect he had Alzheimer's several years before any official diagnosis could be made. Forewarned by genetic testing showing he carried alleles that increased the risk of developing the disease, he noticed symptoms of mild cognitive impairment long before any tests would have alerted him. In A Tattoo on my Brain: A Neurologist's Personal Battle against Alzheimer's Disease (Cambridge UP, 2021), Dr Gibbs documents the effect his diagnosis has had on his life and explains his advocacy for improving early recognition of Alzheimer's. Weaving clinical knowledge from decades caring for dementia patients with his personal experience of the disease, this is an optimistic tale of one man's journey with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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  • When we think of the forces driving cancer, we don’t necessarily think of evolution. But evolution and cancer are closely linked because the historical processes that created life also created cancer. The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer (Princeton UP, 2020) delves into this extraordinary relationship, and shows that by understanding cancer’s evolutionary origins, researchers can come up with more effective, revolutionary treatments.
    Athena Aktipis goes back billions of years to explore when unicellular forms became multicellular organisms. Within these bodies of cooperating cells, cheating ones arose, overusing resources and replicating out of control, giving rise to cancer. Aktipis illustrates how evolution has paved the way for cancer’s ubiquity, and why it will exist as long as multicellular life does. Even so, she argues, this doesn’t mean we should give up on treating cancer—in fact, evolutionary approaches offer new and promising options for the disease’s prevention and treatments that aim at long-term management rather than simple eradication. Looking across species—from sponges and cacti to dogs and elephants—we are discovering new mechanisms of tumor suppression and the many ways that multicellular life-forms have evolved to keep cancer under control. By accepting that cancer is a part of our biological past, present, and future—and that we cannot win a war against evolution—treatments can become smarter, more strategic, and more humane.
    Unifying the latest research from biology, ecology, medicine, and social science, The Cheating Cell challenges us to rethink cancer’s fundamental nature and our relationship to it.
    Hussein Mohsen is a PhD/MA Candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics/History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. His research interests include machine learning, cancer genomics, and the history of human genetics. For more about his work, visit http://www.husseinmohsen.com.
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  • Focusing on the world of Norwegian Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) in the aftermath of significant reforms, Aleksandra Bartoszko's book Treating Heroin Addiction in Norway: The Pharmaceutical Other (Routledge, 2021) casts a critical light on the intersections between medicine and law, and the ideologies infusing the notions of "individual choice" and "patient involvement" in the field of addiction globally.
    With ethnographic attention to the encounters between patients, clinicians, and bureaucrats, the volume shows that OST sustains the realities it is meant to address. The chapters follow one particular patient through complex clinical and legal battles as they fight to achieve a better quality of life. The study provides ethnographic insight that captures the individual, experiential aspects of addiction treatment, and how these experiences find a register within different domains of treatment and policy, including the familial, social, legal, and clinical.
    Offering a rare view of addiction treatment in a Scandinavian welfare state, this book will be of interest to scholars of medical and legal anthropology and sociology, and others with an interest in drug policy and addiction treatment.
    Geert Slabbekoorn works as an analyst in the field of public security. In addition he has published on different aspects of dark web drug trade in Belgium. Find him on twitter, tweeting all things drug related @GeertJS.
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  • The Plant-Based Athlete: A Game-Changing Approach to Peak Performance (HarperOne, 2021) by Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke reveals the incontrovertible proof that the human body does not need meat, eggs, or dairy to be strong. Instead, research shows that a consciously calibrated plant-based diet offers the greatest possible recovery times, cell oxidation, injury prevention, and restorative sleep, and allows athletes to train more effectively, with better results.However, committing to a plant-based diet as an elite athlete, first-time marathoner, or weekend warrior isn't as simple as swapping vegetables for meat. Even the slightest food adjustments can impact performance. That's why Matt Frazier, founder of No Meat Athlete, and Robert Cheeke, founder of Vegan Bodybuilding, wrote this groundbreaking book, to guide those interested in making this important shift in how to do so with the best, most transformative results.The Plant-Based Athlete offers readers:A persuasive body of evidence for adopting a plant-based lifestyle, with key information about how macronutrients, micronutrients, and calories fuel a body running on plant foodsAn entire chapter devoted to protein - why plant sources of protein are preferable over meat, and how plant protein can be used to increase strength, muscle mass, and power60+ delicious and nutritious plant-based recipes, including Veggie Burger Patties, Garden Meatballs, Summer Pasta Salad, Vegan Mac & Cheese, French Toast, Acai Bowl, and a High-Energy SmoothieInsights from winning plant-based athletes in nearly every sport including champion ultrarunners Rich Roll and Scott Jurek; former NFL player David Carter; champion boxers Yuri Foreman, Unsal Arik, Cam Awesome, and Vanessa Espinoza; and Olympic-level swimmers, cyclists, figure skaters, sprinters, and more.A Day in the Life of a Plant-Based Athlete - examples of what, when, and how different athletes eat to fuel their varied workoutsAn instant classic and mainstay on health and fitness shelves everywhere, The Plant-Based Athlete is the ultimate invitation for joining the growing community of athletes who use plants to power their workouts and their every day. Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/medicine

  • How could you lose your memory overnight, and what would it mean? The day neurologist Jed Barash sees the baffling brain scan of a young patient with devastating amnesia marks the beginning of a quest to answer those questions. First detected in a cluster of stigmatized opioid overdose victims in Massachusetts with severe damage to the hippocampus--the brain's memory center--this rare syndrome reveals how the tragic plight of the unfortunate few can open the door to advances in medical science.
    After overcoming initial skepticism that investigating the syndrome is worth the effort--and that fentanyl is the likely culprit--Barash and a growing team of dedicated doctors explore the threat that people who take opioids chronically as prescribed to treat severe pain may gradually put their memories at risk. At the same time, they begin to grasp the potential for this syndrome to shed light on the most elusive memory thief of all--Alzheimer's disease.
    Through the prism of this fascinating story, Aguirre goes on to examine how researchers tease out the fundamental nature of memory and the many mysteries still to be solved. Where do memories live? Why do we forget most of what happens in a day but remember some events with stunning clarity years later? How real are our memories? And what purpose do they actually serve?
    Perhaps the greatest mystery in The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind How We Remember (Pegasus, 2021) is why Alzheimer's has evaded capture for a century even though it afflicts tens of millions around the world and lies in wait for millions more. Aguirre deftly explores this question and reveals promising new strategies and developments that may finally break the long stalemate in the fight against this dreaded disease.
    But at its core, Aguirre's genre-bending and deeply-reported book is about paying attention to the things that initially don't make sense--like the amnestic syndrome--and how these mysteries can move science closer to an ever-evolving version of the truth.
    The research and writing of The Memory Thief was supported in part by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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  • Conventional wisdom about running is passed down like folklore (and sometimes contradicts itself): the right kind of shoe prevents injury—or running barefoot, like our prehistoric ancestors, is best; eat a high-fat diet—and also carbo load before a race; running cures depression—but it might be addictive; running can save your life—although it can also destroy your knee cartilage. Often it's hard to know what to believe. In Running Smart: How Science Can Improve Your Endurance and Performance (MIT Press, 2021), Mariska van Sprundel, a science journalist and recreational runner who has had her fair share of injuries, sets out to explore the science behind such claims.
    In her quest, van Sprundel reviews the latest developments in sports science, consults with a variety of experts, and visits a sports lab to have her running technique analyzed. She learns, among other things, that according to evolutionary biology, humans are perfectly adapted to running long distances (even if our hunter-gatherer forebears suffered plenty of injuries); that running sets off a shockwave that spreads from foot to head, which may or may not be absorbed by cushioned shoes; and that a good sports bra controls the ping pong–like movements of a female runner's breasts. She explains how the body burns fuel, the best foods to eat before and after running, and what might cause “runner's high.” More than fifty million Americans are runners (and a slight majority of them are women). This engaging and enlightening book will help both novice and seasoned runners run their smartest.
    Mariska van Sprundel is a freelance science journalist who has written for Runner's World and other publications. The creator of The Rational Runner, a blog about science and running, she is a running instructor for recreational runners at a Utrecht athletics club.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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  • Understanding ADHD is based on an in-depth, filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Stephen Hinshaw, Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley. Stephen Hinshaw is an expert in the fields of clinical child and adolescent psychology and developmental psychopathology, as well as stigma, preventive interventions and dehumanization related to mental illness.
    Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at howard@ideasroadshow.com.
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  • Our bodies are scanned, probed, imaged, sampled, and transformed into data by clinicians and technologists. In Giving Bodies Back to Data: Image Makers, Bricolage, and Reinvention in Magnetic Resonance Technology (MIT Press, 2021), Silvia Casini reveals the affective relations and materiality that turn data into image–and in so doing, gives bodies back to data. Opening the black box of MRI technology, Casini examines the bodily, situated aspects of visualization practices around the development of this technology. Reframing existing narratives of biomedical innovation, she emphasizes the important but often overlooked roles played by aesthetics, affectivity, and craft practice in medical visualization.
    Combining history, theory, laboratory ethnography, archival research, and collaborative art-science, Casini retrieves the multiple presences and agencies of bodies in data visualization, mapping the traces of scientists’ body work and embodied imagination. She presents an in-depth ethnographic study of MRI development at the University of Aberdeen’s biomedical physics laboratory, from the construction of the first whole-body scanner for clinical purposes through the evolution of the FFC-MRI. Going beyond her original focus on MRI, she analyzes a selection of neuroscience- or biomedicine-inspired interventions by artists in media ranging from sculpture to virtual reality. Finally, she presents a methodology for designing and carrying out small-scale art-science projects, describing a collaboration that she herself arranged, highlighting the relational and aesthetic-laden character of data that are the product of craftsmanship and affective labor at the laboratory bench.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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  • Today's guests are Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman and Dr. Daniel Peach. Dr. Kuhlman is a former White house physician. From 2007 to 2011, he served as Chief of the White House Medical Unit, designating him as the personal physician to President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety Officer for AdventHealth.
    Dr. Kuhlman is joined today by his colleague and co-author, Dr. Daniel Peach. Dr. Peach, a registered sports medicine physician in the UK, currently serves as Executive Director of Clinical Innovation for AdventHealth. Their new book, “Transformative Healthcare,” and their unique career paths are the subjects for today’s episode. Their book was published by AdventHealth Press in August of 2021.
    Colin Miller and Dr. Keith Mankin host the popular medical podcast, PeerSpectrum. Colin works in the medical device space and Keith is a retired pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
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  • The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how we think about care. Care work has long been devalued – the daily labors of sustaining the well-being of individuals and community members were seen as natural duties belonging to women, and did not receive recognition as labor. However, with the COVID-19 crisis, the popular media is increasingly valorizing care workers as essential workers because of the growing need for care from our vulnerable populations. The question remains whether we as society are ensuring care for both workers and recipients of state-funded domestic personal support, who are also marginalized from society because of their age, disability, class, and race. Home Care Fault Lines: Understanding Tensions and Creating Alliances (ILR Press, 2020) makes a timely intervention – the scholarship on care work focuses either on workers, recipients, policies, or private sectors. In her important sociological investigation, Cynthia Cranford examines both the workers’ and recipients’ perspectives through in-depth interviews with over 300 people in Canada and the US to understand how we can improve the workers’ security with recipients’ flexibility (often seen in opposition from one another) at levels of labor process, labor market, and state.
    Through case studies of Toronto’s Direct Funding Program, Los Angeles’s In-Home Supportive Services program, Toronto’s Home Care program, and Toronto’s Attendant Services program, Cranford evaluates the potential of co-ethnic alliances, union organizing, and state-funded model in mediating the tension between security and flexibility. Drawing from a wide range of scholarship on domestic labor, migration, and unions, Cranford proposes a three-pronged model of intimate community unionism to ensure flexible and secure working environments for both workers and recipients where they can democratically contribute their knowledges and form alliances. Cranford’s in-depth, thought-provoking, and insightful work is an important read not only for scholars of care work and labor, but also for activists, social workers, and organizers outside of academia who are interested in building alliances of care.
    Cynthia Cranford is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, where she studies inequalities of gender, work and migration, and collective efforts to resist them.
    Da In Ann Choi is a PhD student at UCLA in the Gender Studies department. Her research interests include care labor and migration, reproductive justice, social movement, citizenship theory, and critical empire studies. She can be reached at dainachoi@g.ucla.edu.
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  • Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that an enormous proportion of medical care worldwide is provided under the auspices of religious organizations, there has been a sustained and systematic campaign to drive out those with religious worldviews from the field of bioethics and indeed, from medicine itself. Obviously, this constitutes blatant discrimination against patients, the unborn, the elderly and the otherwise vulnerable and their families and faith-oriented medical providers and religiously-oriented bioethicists. But more importantly, the loss of a theological sensibility among scholars and providers and the consequent diminishment of fellow feeling for patients whose lives are suffused with religiosity is stripping away the foundations of compassion that religion has provided medicine since both entered the human scene.
    That is the thrust of the 2021 book, Losing Our Dignity: How Secularized Medicine is Undermining Fundamental Human Equality (New City Press, 2021) by the bioethicist and theologian Charles C. Camosy.
    The book sounds several alarms. Camosy shows in the book that the increased secularization of the field of bioethics has led it, ironically enough, to become less humane and less protective of the dignity of the least among us. And he tells us something that will be hard for many of us to hear—most of us may face years of life with dementia or caring for someone with it. Camosy argues, therefore, that now is not the time for bioethics to exclude from its deliberations and scholarship and impact on public policy religious people for whom the equality of all human beings is both sacred and a part of everyday life. We do so at our peril, for all of us will experience some sort of illness or disability and will need the protection of laws and policies crafted by those with a commitment to the idea of the worth of all human beings, even those seemingly brain dead as well as the unborn.
    Indeed, one of the greatest strengths of the book is the way Camosy explains with reader-friendly clarity the differences between brain death and what was once called, chillingly, persistent vegetative state (PVS). He also examines the difference in matters of bioethics of the terms “human being” and “person” and why drawing a distinction between the two can lead to gross injustice and inhumanity, no matter how meretriciously clever notable members of the “person” school of philosophers are—think Peter Singer, one of the thinkers discussed in the book.
    The book brings all of these arcane matters home by examining in-depth the heartrending stories of Jahi McMath, Terri Schiavo, and Alfie Evans and the legal battles that often rendered the parents of all of them powerless in the face of a secularized or racially-biased medicolegal system that was at times openly and brutally anti-religious.
    This book is even more important to read as the current pandemic has highlighted the substandard care that has existed for decades in long-term care facilities and the unnecessary deaths among nursing home patients in many states during the pandemic era.
    We can do better and be better people than this, says Camosy. Let’s hear how he says that can be.
    Give a listen.
    Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher.
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  • How can consumers, nations, and international organizations work together to improve food systems before our planet loses its ability to sustain itself and its people?
    Do we have the right to eat wrongly?
    As the world's agricultural, environmental, and nutritional needs intersect—and often collide—how can consumers, nations, and international organizations work together to reverse the damage by changing how we make, distribute, and purchase food? Can such changes in practice and policy reverse the trajectories of the biggest global crises impacting our world: the burden of chronic diseases, the consequences of climate change, and the systemic economic and social inequities that exist within and among nations?
    Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet? (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021) is a clarion call for both individual consumers and those who shape our planet's food and environmental policies that:
    • describes the often destructive path that foods take from farms and seas through their processing, distribution, marketing, purchasing and waste management sites
    • explores the complex web of factors impacting our ability to simultaneously meet nutritional needs, sustain biodiversity and protect the environment
    • raises readers' food and environmental literacy through an engaging narrative about Fanzo's research on five continents along with the work of other inspiring global experts who are providing solutions to these crises
    • empowers readers to contribute to immediate and long-term changes by informing their decisions in restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, and kitchens.
    Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
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  • Stigma about mental illness makes life doubly hard for people suffering from mental or emotional distress. In addition to dealing with their conditions, they must also contend with social shame and secrecy. But by examining how mental illness is conceived of and treated in other cultures, we can improve our own perspectives in the Western world. In his new book, Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness (Norton, 2021), anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker offers a critique of our current mental health system based on cross-cultural observations as well as suggestions for improving upon it. In our interview, we talk about the impact of stigma on mental health treatment and his ideas about where it comes from. He also explains why he feels optimistic about recent trends in the way individuals speak about their mental health challenges.
    Roy Richard Grinker is professor of anthropology and international affairs at George Washington University. His specialties include ethnicity, nationalism, and psychological anthropology, with topical expertise in autism, Korea, and sub-Saharan Africa. He is also the director of George Washington University’s Institute for Ethnographic Research and editor-in-chief of the journal Anthropological Quarterly. He is author of several books, including Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism. He lives in Washington, DC.
    Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in Miami. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is a graduate and faculty of William Alanson White Institute in Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology in New York City and former chair of their LGBTQ Study Group; and faculty at Florida Psychoanalytic Institute in Miami. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (2018, Routledge) and has published on issues of gender, sexuality, and sexual abuse.
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  • Over the past five years, medical aid-in-dying (also known as assisted suicide) has expanded rapidly in the United States, and is now legally available to one in five Americans. This growing social and political movement heralds the possibility of a new era of choice in dying. Yet very little is publicly known about how medical aid-in-dying laws affect ordinary citizens once they are put into practice. Sociological studies of new health policies have repeatedly demonstrated that the realities often fall short of advocacy visions, raising questions about how much choice and control aid-in-dying actually affords. 
    Scripting Death: Stories of Assisted Dying in America (U California Press, 2021) chronicles two years of ethnographic research documenting the implementation of Vermont's 2013 "Patient Choice and Control at End of Life" Act. Author Mara Buchbinder weaves together stories collected from patients, caregivers, health care providers, activists, and legislators to illustrate how they navigate aid-in-dying as a new medical frontier in the aftermath of legalization. Scripting Death explains how medical aid-in-dying works, what motivates people to pursue it, and ultimately, why upholding the "right to die" is very different from ensuring access to this life-ending procedure. This unprecedented, in-depth account uses the case of assisted death as an entry point into ongoing cultural conversations about the changing landscape of death and dying in the United States.
    Claire Clark is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. She teaches and writes about health behavior in historical context.
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  • "On the outskirts of Havana lies Mazorra, an asylum known to--and at times feared by--ordinary Cubans for over a century. Since its founding in 1857, the island's first psychiatric hospital has been an object of persistent political attention. Drawing on hospital documents and government records, as well as the popular press, photographs, and oral histories, Jennifer L. Lambe charts the connections between the inner workings of this notorious institution and the highest echelons of Cuban politics. Across the sweep of modern Cuban history, she finds, Mazorra has served as both laboratory and microcosm of the Cuban state: the asylum is an icon of its ignominious colonial and neocolonial past and a crucible of its republican and revolutionary futures. From its birth, Cuban psychiatry was politically inflected, drawing partisan contention while sparking debates over race, religion, gender, and sexuality. Psychiatric notions were even invested with revolutionary significance after 1959, as the new government undertook ambitious schemes for social reeducation. But Mazorra was not the exclusive province of government officials and professionalizing psychiatrists. U.S. occupiers, Soviet visitors, and, above all, ordinary Cubans infused the institution, both literal and metaphorical, with their own fears, dreams, and alternative meanings. Together, their voices comprise the madhouse that, as Lambe argues, haunts the revolutionary trajectory of Cuban history."
    I talked with Dr. Lambe about her first book, Madhouse: Psychiatry and Politics in Cuban History, which was published in 2017 by University of North Carolina Press as part of the Envisioning Cuba Series. Dr. Lambe is an Associate Professor of Latin American and Caribbean history at Brown University and is also the co-editor of The Revolution from Within: Cuba, 1959-1980 (2019). Dr. Lambe and I talked corruption, politics, and madness. Don't miss this wonderful conversation!
    Rozzmery Palenzuela Vicente is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at Florida International University. Her dissertation examines the cultural and intellectual politics surrounding black motherhood in twentieth-century Cuba. Twitter: @RozzmeryPV
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  • Home to over 730,000 people, with close to four million people living in the metropolitan area, Seattle has the third-highest homeless population in the United States. In 2018, an estimated 8,600 homeless people lived in the city, a figure that does not include the significant number of "hidden" homeless people doubled up with friends or living in and out of cheap hotels. In Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021), Josephine Ensign digs through layers of Seattle history—past its leaders and prominent citizens, respectable or not—to reveal the stories of overlooked and long-silenced people who live on the margins of society.
    Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
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  • Why is there such a deep partisan division within the United States regarding how health care should be organized and financed and how can we encourage politicians to band together again for the good of everyone? For decades, Democratic and Republican political leaders have disagreed about the fundamental goals of American health policy. The modern-day consequences of this disagreement, particularly in the Republicans' campaign to erode the coverage and equity gains of the Affordable Care Act, can be seen in the tragic and disparate impact of COVID-19 on the country. In Crossing the American Health Care Chasm: Finding the Path to Bipartisan Collaboration in National Health Care Policy (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021), Donald A. Barr, MD, PhD, details the breakdown in political relations in the United States. Why, he asks, has health policy, which used to be a place where the two sides could find common ground, become the nexus of fiery political conflict? Ultimately, Barr argues, this divide is more dangerous than ever at a time when health care costs continue to skyrocket, the number of uninsured Americans is rising, many state governments are chipping away at Medicaid, and the GOP has not let up in its efforts to dismantle the ACA. 
    Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
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    Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/medicine

  • With technological advances and information sharing so prevalent, health care should be more transparent and easier to access than ever before. So why does it seem like everything about it―from pricing, drug development, and the emergence of new diseases to the intricacies of biologic and precision medicine therapies―is becoming more complex, not less?
    Rohit Khanna's Misunderstanding Health: Making Sense of America's Broken Health Care System (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021) examines some of today's most revealing health care trends while imploring us to look at these issues with alacrity, humor, and vigilance. Over the course of eighteen short, engaging chapters, Khanna explains
    • how unexamined beliefs can endanger patients, drive cost, and increase bureaucracy
    • the "Dr. Google" effect on the ways that we seek (or eschew) care
    • why our health care costs more than in any other country
    • the unintended consequences of using rating sites like Yelp
    • what we can learn about health care from hurricanes
    • how social media influencers impact health care
    • how artificial intelligence can improve health care
    • why health screening programs are so complicated
    • what the industry is doing to combat health care fraud
    • what the big deal about legalizing medical cannabis is
    • how to think about behavioral "nudges" designed to improve health
    • why understanding how data are collected is critical to understanding what they can tell us
    • and much more
    Each provocative and easy-to-read chapter covers a familiar aspect of health care in a clear and succinct way. Offering inquisitive readers a warts-and-all view of American health care, Misunderstanding Health is the book that you'll want to read if you know enough to be frustrated by the system but want a deeper dive into its challenges and opportunities.
    Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
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    Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/medicine