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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Autism, Calories, & Marathons

Instead of scouring the world's headlines for ehealth stories for this blog, I have been silently reading 3 books.

1. It is funny how we hear about books. The first I heard about on an interview with James Fitzgerald on CBC radio.  I thought it tragic that both his father and paternal grandfather, who were in the medical profession, had committed suicide.  Then there was the intriguing story about how his grandfather's life was kept secret in a kind of family shame.  It turns out the grandfather, Gerry Fitzgerald, was the founder of Connaught Labs at the University of Toronto, which developed the insulin of Banting and Best, (and a lot of other vaccines for mass public immunization) and was one of the visionary founders and promoters of Public Health in Canada.
What Disturbs our Blood: A Son's Quest to Redeem the Past", by James Fitzgerald.
2. Different ... Not Less: Inspiring Stories of Achievement and Successful Employment from Adults with Autism, Asperger's, and ADHD, edited by Temple Grandin, PhD. I saw the TV special about her and her special gifts working as a designer in the cattle industry.  In my job in research ethics I have seen a lot of research on autism spectrum. The stories of the lives of persons living with the spectrum, or are "Aspies" makes me think how many people I might know or have known who have this condition but have learned how to adapt among all us "neurotypicals".   Someone told me a lot of people leading developments in Silicon Valley are like this.  One of the life stories speculates that even Steven Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computer, might have had Asperger's syndrome.

3. The book about diet is probably the only one that I won't finish reading, as it is kind of dense, but it also one of the most interesting.  Well written books that question the "conventional wisdom" and science itself are always welcome.  I heard about this book in a conversation with a Psychology professor who had previously told me about another great book that questioned the conventional wisdom, and which I also read, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall