Monday, June 13, 2011

"Western Diseases, Their Emergence and Prevention"

This has been on my to-do list to review for ever.  A fascinating, if problematic, book.  Here's a short review (PDF, link):
"As is succinctly stated in their preface, 'this book attempts to discuss the commoner diseases of civilization.' In essence, these diseases are ones felt by the editors to be characteristic of modern Western industrialized societies: metabolic and cardiovascular diseases (e.g., coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disorders); intestinal diseases (e.g., appendicitis, diverticular disease, cancer, hemorrhoids, polyps, constipation); and a variety of others, including nephrolithiasis, gout, pernicious anemia, thyrotoxicosis, and breast and lung cancer.

"The major chapters in the book study several specific populations from all corners of the earth. They are collected in sections under the concepts of hunter-gatherers, peasant-agriculturists, migrants and mixed ethnic groups, and the Far East. The people described include Inuit Eskimos, Australian aborigines, Pacific Island groups, South African populations, Hawaiian ethnic groups, and the population of Taiwan and China."

Here's another short and informative review (PDF, link):

"The book is intended for epidemiologists, nutritionists and gastroenterologists, but many of the chapters will be of interest to clinicians who are interested in total patient care, particularly the preventive aspects of diseases. Disciples of the bran cult will find that the book makes for stimulating reading. It would be a worthy addition to any medical library, and all physicians concerned about the dubious benefits of our Western lifestyle will find that the work provides much food for thought."

He's spot on about the "bran cult".  Burkitt founded it after all, if I'm not mistaken. 

The book is here on Amazon, and here on Google Books (including excerpts).