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The Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities: An Unconventional Compendium of Health Facts and Oddities, from Asthmatic Mice to Plants that Can Kill
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The Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities: An Unconventional Compendium of Health Facts and Oddities, from Asthmatic Mice to Plants that Can Kill

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Delightful doses of medical miscellany about wacky doctors and their curious patients, from their smallest bones (the stapes) to their heaviest organs (the liver)

In this addictive collection of trivia, Nicholas Bakalar, the “Vital Signs” columnist for The New York Times, spoons out the things you never realized you really want to know about your body and your health.

Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by Times Books
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There wasn't much in this book I didn't already know and most of the time I was annoyed that certain processes, studies, and diseases were not fully explained (ex. Kallman's Syndrome is merely described as a hypothalamic hormone disorder, but does not even mention the basic hallmarks of the disease-- the absence, or severely diminished presence, of secondary sex characteristics).

I'm still giving this book 3 stars because I am not the intended audience and it would be unfair to judge it harshly.
I picked this up because I enjoy reading compilations of oddities and curious things (see "Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine" which I am currently on page 712 of) but alas, this wasn't quite what I was expecting. I expect a cabinet of curiosities to be about things that are on the very edge of the known, like the 18th century cabinets full of oddities and recent discoveries. This book is more just a compilations of interesting facts about medicine and doctoring. Which was okay, but not excit ...more
As a quick read - it's ok. But don't expect to find much material in here that is thoroughly researched. In most cases it seemed like the author had read one article on a particular subject with very little additional research. To give just one example, when talking about life expectancy discrepancies between men and women he failed to mention testosterone and it's slow destructive properties. (Eunuch males living longer are a quick piece of evidence that shows this.) Instead he gets stymied by ...more
I knew most of the stuff already in the book. It's not something you would want to reference as a research book.
Sphinx Feathers
Interesting tidbits, but nothing more. Good for things that probably won't change.
Jelena H
Interesting, but messy.
This is a collection of rather random facts about medical history and medical issues. While it provides some interesting information (most of it I already knew), it really doesn't go into any depth with anything. Things like how drugs get their names and ten diseases that can be contracted from a dog or cat were very interesting...but all in all, it was like factual popcorn.
I feel the need to make a correction. Not all corneas are suitable to become a transplant. Those whom have had LASIK or corneal diseases, or those whom are quite elderly. The cornea may still be donated and be used for scientific purposes, but it will not be transplanted.

Otherwise, this book is wonderful and the author has a fantastic sense of humor.
This book is like one of those toilet shaped "bathroom readers" that are full of random one sentence facts tenuously connected by themes. If you like those, and you like medicine, you may enjoy these facts. I do not, however, appreciate that it is masquerading as an actual book.
Normally I love books of trivia, however I found this one to be boring and rather uninspired. Nothing really jumped out at me, although the author does have a humorous tone.
I generally don't like books that are just random assortments of facts, but this had a fair amount of good stuff in it.
Steven Wan
Interesting at first, but topics such as "everything inside an EMT van" is just not that noteworthy.
Melissa Dumas
Super facts on diseases, killer plants, and devious doctors. I really liked this one!
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