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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

3.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  69 Ratings  ·  15 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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Bedside Manners by David WattsThe Odd Women by George GissingThe Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities by Nick BakalarMom's Marijuana by Dan ShapiroEven After All This Time by Afschineh Latifi
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3rd out of 14 books — 3 voters
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38th out of 59 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

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Apr 07, 2011 Lindsay rated it liked it
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.
Aug 16, 2014 Sally rated it it was ok
Shelves: other-not-mine
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
Apr 20, 2012 Steve rated it it was ok
Shelves: physiology, science
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
Steven Allen
Jan 27, 2016 Steven Allen rated it liked it
I would rate this book as a solid ... meh ... Nothing earth-shattering, just a collection of somewhat interesting medical facts. Worth a quick read, but not something that I feel is a worthy addition to the home reference library.
Feb 26, 2014 Carissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: medicine
I knew most of the stuff already in the book. It's not something you would want to reference as a research book.
Jan 22, 2016 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
A fun and easy to read collection of medical facts. As other reviewers have mentioned the book can be dated quickly due to the number of statistics in it and many times you wanted just that bit more information about something that was mentioned. But as I said it was a fun and easy read for teenagers and adults alike.
Jelena H
Nov 10, 2014 Jelena H rated it it was ok
Interesting, but messy.
Jan 30, 2010 Marsha rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Jun 24, 2010 Manintheboat rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
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.
Dec 18, 2012 Alice rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
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.
Oct 12, 2011 Haven rated it it was ok
Shelves: trivia
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.
Jul 07, 2010 Smellsofbikes rated it really liked it
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
Jun 16, 2013 Steven Wan rated it it was ok
Interesting at first, but topics such as "everything inside an EMT van" is just not that noteworthy.
Sphinx Feathers
Sep 26, 2015 Sphinx Feathers rated it it was ok
Shelves: science, no
Interesting tidbits, but nothing more. Good for things that probably won't change.
Melissa Dumas
Apr 13, 2013 Melissa Dumas rated it really liked it
Super facts on diseases, killer plants, and devious doctors. I really liked this one!
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