Download Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to by Gavin Francis PDF

By Gavin Francis

We think we all know bodies in detail, yet for lots of people they continue to be uncharted territory, an enigma of bone and muscle, neurons and synapses. what number folks comprehend the way in which seizures impact the mind, how the center is hooked up to healthiness, or the why the foot holds the main to our humanity? In Adventures in Human Being, award-winning writer Gavin Francis leads readers on a trip into the hidden pathways of the human physique, delivering a advisor to its internal workings and a party of its marvels.
Drawing on his stories as a general practitioner, ER professional, and kin health care provider, Francis blends tales from the health center with episodes from clinical heritage, philosophy, and literature to explain the physique in ailment and in health and wellbeing, in lifestyles and in demise. while assessing a tender lady with paralysis of the face, Francis displays at the age-old hassle artists have had in taking pictures human expression. A veteran of the battle in Iraq suffers a shoulder damage that Homer first defined 3 millennia in the past within the Iliad. And while a gardener pricks her finger on a grimy rose thorn, her case of bacterial blood poisoning brings to brain the comatose slumbering beauties within the fairy stories we examine as children.
At its center, Adventures in Human Being is a meditation on what it ability to be human. Poetic, eloquent, and profoundly perceptive, this e-book will remodel how you view your physique.

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Indd 44 7/23/15 11:05 AM Face: Beautiful Palsy 45 paralysis of just one side of the face because of a damaged nerve. Other muscles could give hints about each person’s attitude when alive: an unusually well-developed corrugator supercilli hinted at a perennially angry, knitted brow – from which we get the word supercilious. The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi – an extraordinarily long name for a tiny muscle – does exactly what it says if you can fight your way through the Latin: it lifts the upper lip and wing of the nostril in a snarl.

But then details about his life and his slide into despair began to emerge. “It came over me so slowly,” he said. “For a long time I think I didn’t notice anything was wrong. ” Within three weeks of starting treatment, he was gaining weight. ” “Before, I could hardly move,” he said. “I felt so weighed down. ” He’d lost all memory of the days around the beginning of the treatment, and couldn’t remember our first meeting. But he was no longer tormented by the belief that he was rotting from the inside; within a month of starting the treatment he was ready to go home.

In the nineteenth century camphor fell out of fashion – it was too dangerous and unreliable – but the concept was resurrected in the 1930s by a Hungarian neurologist, Ladislas Meduna. Meduna had examined brains under the microscope and noticed that those of individuals who had suffered epilepsy were unusually dense with “glia” – the supporting cells that provide scaffolding in the brain. Glial cell proliferation represents a form of scarring (the brains of boxers also exhibit this “gliosis”). Others had reported that the brains of schizophrenics had a lower concentration of glial cells than normal, and Meduna wondered if the two observations were related.

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