By Gavin Francis
We imagine we all know bodies in detail, yet for plenty of people they continue to be uncharted territory, an enigma of bone and muscle, neurons and synapses. what percentage folks comprehend the way in which seizures impact the mind, how the guts is hooked up to overall healthiness, or the why the foot holds the most important 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 studies as a medical professional, ER expert, and kinfolk general practitioner, Francis blends tales from the sanatorium with episodes from scientific historical past, philosophy, and literature to explain the physique in ailment and in wellbeing and fitness, in lifestyles and in demise. while assessing a tender girl with paralysis of the face, Francis displays at the age-old trouble artists have had in shooting human expression. A veteran of the warfare in Iraq suffers a shoulder damage that Homer first defined 3 millennia in the past within the Iliad. And whilst a gardener pricks her finger on a grimy rose thorn, her case of bacterial blood poisoning brings to brain the comatose dozing beauties within the fairy stories we examine as children.
At its middle, Adventures in Human Being is a meditation on what it ability to be human. Poetic, eloquent, and profoundly perceptive, this ebook will remodel how you view your physique.
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Additional info for Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum
The human skull is a strong resister, comparable to the silicon used in electronics, and the threshold to elicit a grand mal seizure can vary as much as fivefold between different individuals because of the electrical particularities of the brain and scalp. For the first forty years of the therapy there were also great variations in the equipment used to provide the electricity: some used a mains-generated sine wave of alternating current, minimally modified from the wall socket, while others provided a brief train of DC pulses.
If you are sitting reading this in the sunshine, the photons reaching your retina were born, just eight and a half minutes ago, through nuclear fusion in the core of the sun. Five minutes ago they were streaking past the orbit of Mercury; two and a half minutes ago they outran Venus. Those not intercepted by the earth will pass the orbit of Mars in about four minutes’ time, and Saturn in just over an hour. After this journey across space, and in unchanging time (because, as Einstein figured out, moving at the speed of light brings time to a standstill), the sun’s white light envelops the world around us and breaks into a multicolored scatter.
Wanting to understand more, I turned to a book on the subject by John Berger, who had his cataracts removed in 2010. Berger has spent his life thinking about seeing. Here is his description of lying on grass looking up at a tree, from an essay published in 1960, when he was thirty-four: “The image of the pattern of the leaves remains for a moment before it fades, imprinted on your retina, but now deep red, the color of the darkest rhododendron. ” In 1972 he had collaborated with four others – Sven Blomberg, Chris Fox, Michael Dibb and Richard Hollis – to produce a new kind of book, an extraordinary fusion of literature and visual art: Ways of Seeing.