Best Health Books of 2015

"One doctor's passionate and profound memoir of his experience grappling with race, bias, and the unique health problems of black AmericansWhen Damon Tweedy begins medical school,he envisions a bright future where his segregated, working-class background will become largely irrelevant. Instead, he finds that he has joined a new world where race is front and center. The recipient of a scholarship designed to increase black student enrollment, Tweedy soon meets a professor who bluntly questions whether he belongs in medical school, a moment that crystallizes the challenges he will face throughout his career. Making matters worse, in lecture after lecture the common refrain for numerous diseases resounds, "More common in blacks than whites." Black Man in a White Coat examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of most health problems in the black community. These issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. In this powerful, moving, and deeply empathic book, Tweedy explores the challenges confronting black doctors, and the disproportionate health burdens faced by black patients, ultimately seeking a way forward to better treatment and more compassionate care"--.

"It is a wicked disease that robs its victims of their memories, their ability to think clearly, and ultimately their lives. For centuries, those afflicted by Alzheimer's disease have suffered its debilitating effects while family members sit by, watching their loved ones disappear a little more each day until the person they used to know is gone forever. The disease was first described by German psychologist and neurologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906. One hundred years and a great deal of scientific effort later, much more is known about Alzheimer's, but it still affects millions around the world, and there is no cure in sight. In The End of Memory, award-winning science author Jay Ingram writes a biography of this disease that attacks the brains of patients. He charts the history of the disease from before it was noted by Alois Alzheimer through to the twenty-first century, explains the fascinating science of plaques and tangles, recounts the efforts to understand and combat the disease, and introduces us to the passionate researchers who are working to find a cure. An illuminating biography of "the plague of the twenty-first century" and scientists' efforts to understand and, they hope, prevent it, The End of Memory is a book for those who want to find out the true story behind an affliction that courses through families and wreaks havoc on the lives of millions"--.

"At one time, heart disease was a death sentence. In The Heart Healers, world renowned cardiologist Dr. James Forrester tells the story of the mavericks and rebels who defied the accumulated medical wisdom of the day to begin conquering heart disease. By the middle of the 20th century, heart disease was killing millions and, as with the Black Death centuries before, physicians stood helpless. Visionaries, though, had begun to make strides earlier. On Sept. 7, 1895, Ludwig Rehn successfully sutured the heart of a living man with a knife wound to the chest for the first time. Once it was deemed possible to perform surgery on the heart, others followed. In 1929, Dr. Werner Forssman inserted a cardiac catheter in his own arm and forced the x-ray technician on duty to take a photo as he successfully threaded it down the vein into his own heart...and lived. On June 6, 1944 - D-Day - another momentous event occurred far from the Normandy beaches: Dr. Dwight Harken sutured the shrapnel-injured heart of a young soldier, saved his life and the term "cardiac surgeon" born.Dr. Forrester tells the story of these rebels and the risks they took with their own lives and the lives of others to heal the most elemental of human organs - the heart. The result is a compelling chronicle of a disease and its cure, a disease that is still with us, but one that is slowly being worn away by "The Heart Healers""--.

"A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently"--.

"The Patient's Playbook is a compelling narrative of personal stories that imparts lessons and illuminates strategies for better, and even life-saving, medical decision-making. With clarity and as a call to action, the book presents the most effective approach to getting the best from a broken system: sourcing excellent doctors, choosing the right treatment protocols in the "no mistake zone," researching with precision, and structuring the ideal support team."--.

Practicing nurse and New York Times columnist Theresa Brown invites readers to experience not just a day in the life of a nurse but all the life that happens in just one day on a hospital cancer ward. In her skilled hands, as both a dedicated nurse and an insightful chronicler of events, we are given an unprecedented view into the individual struggles as well as the larger truths about medicine in this country, and by the end of the shift, we have witnessed something profound about hope and healing and humanity.