Life and Death: The History of Overcoming Disease and What It Tells Us About Our Present Increasing Life Expectancy as a Result of Present Day Actions

John Durbin Husher

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 366 Price: (paperback) $24.95 ISBN: 9781491777800 Reviewed: February, 2020 Author Website: Visit »

Prolific author and retired engineer John Durbin Husher’s latest book covers evolutionary advances in medicine up to 2015.

Husher’s historic look at modern medicine describes how the human lifespan has been extended and protected by key individuals such as Louis Pasteur and Jonas Salk and their medical breakthroughs that helped prevent diseases and enhance physical well-being.

The author begins with an overview of the Great Famine of 1315-1317, the Black Death (plague), the world wars, and communicable diseases such as the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1920 — uncontrolled events that killed millions of humans over the centuries until the advent of modern sanitary practices and medical treatments, including antibiotics such as penicillin that increased human lifespan.

He then turns to positive changes in contemporary healthcare. Staph infections, childbirth fever and polio are no longer death sentences, and research continues to advance on HIV infection and cancers. Husher also lightens the text with personal health experiences, such as discussing the successful control of his high blood pressure with the right combination of medications, and how a young family member with serious neurological issues benefited from medical Botox.

Although well written and clearly expressed, the book’s text often focuses on complicated medical research. The extensive sections delving into DNA may be best understood by those with a scientific background, who can more easily follow charts of genetic codes and detailed descriptions of DNA molecules. General readers might prefer to browse to areas of personal interest and skip over the complicated sections on genetics. For example, Husher points out how to reduce heart problems through diet and discusses the promise of stem cell research to cure diseases such as cancer, sections that can be located in the Table of Contents.

Overall, the author clearly conveys his appreciation for the evolution of modern medicine. Readers will likely agree with him that in reading his book “one will find it exciting to realize how fortunate we are.”

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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