The Water Secret The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger
By Howard Murad, M.D.
Dr. Howard Murad was seven years old when he arrived in the United States from Baghdad. Dr. Murad says that he never could have imagined he would have the opportunity to make the difference in the lives of others that he has had as a dermatologist, pharmacist and researcher. But his greatest contribution has been in the area of disease prevention, as opposed to the treatment of health problems.
Murad believes one of the crucial areas of disease prevention is cell health. Based on his research, in The Water Secret he asserts the premise that “the key to vibrant health from the inside out lies in maintaining strong cells that can retain water the way younger cells do.”
The goal of The Water Secret is to bring about a lifestyle change to prevent and reduce damage to cells so they retain more water nutrients by strengthening their membranes and connective tissues. Dr. Murad believes that these changes are brought about through topical, internal, and emotional self-care. An engaging and encouraging read, The Water Secret also offers a 10-step action plan with tips and recipes.
Reviewed by Lisa Newman
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
By Rebecca Skloot
Henrietta Lacks was born in Virginia in 1920, the daughter of a tobacco farmer. She married her first cousin and moved to Maryland, where she gave birth to five children. She and her family were poor. When Henrietta was just 31 she died from complications brought on by cervical cancer and was buried without a tombstone in a family cemetery. To this day nobody knows exactly where her body lies.
When Henrietta died, most people, including her family, didn’t know that while she was being treated at Johns Hopkins for her cervical cancer, samples of her cancer cells were taken without her permission. Researchers who studied these cells found they could be kept alive and grown in the laboratory – something scientists had been desperate to succeed in doing. The cells of this African-American woman who died poor and young and in pain were later called ‘HeLa’ cells (for Henrietta Lacks). Incredibly, thanks to HeLa cells the polio vaccine was developed.
HeLa cells have since been mass produced and used to help doctors research AIDS and cancer, study gene mapping, and realize the effects of the atom bomb. They’ve been shared with scientists all over the world. In fact, 50 million metric tons of her cells have now been grown.
Surprisingly, Henrietta’s family only found out about her still-living cells about 20 years after her death. This family, who couldn’t afford to to have health insurance, never received any profits from her ‘”immortality.”
It’s an alarming story that raises confounding questions about race, class, science, and bioethics, and author Rebecca Skloot writes with authority and sensitivity.
Reviewed by Susie Penman
Bicycling the Natchez Trace
By Glen Wanner
Bicycling the Natchez Trace is in its third edition and for good reason. Even before you get on the trail you will be caught up in the engaging mini history lessons from author Glen Wanner. Wanner has traveled all 500 miles of the Natchez Trace from Mississippi through Alabama and Tennessee, noting the historic sites from Native American ceremonial mounds to Civil War battlegrounds and the simplicities of small town southern life.
Wanner emphasizes the variety of bicycle tours available on the Natchez Trace. Cyclists can embark on a several-hour tour to a several-day trip, or load their bikes on the car and set out on a self-contained cycling tour. For those who decide to go for a long tour, Wanner details every possible itinerary with information on distance, terrain and accumulated elevation, historical highlights and recommendations for camping, lodging and food.
We Mississippians are truly lucky to have one of the premier cycling roads in the country. Surely one of the best ways to follow this path forged by Indian hunters, Mississippi boatmen, pioneer settlers, soldiers and even outlaws is by setting out on a cycling trip along the Natchez Trace.
Reviewed by Lisa Newman
The Memory Bible
By Gary Small, M.D.
Whether we are young or old, we forget things. Can’t go to the grocery because you lost your keys? Once you get there, have you forgotten what you needed? It can be so frustrating. Our brains have to work to keep sharp. Similar to our body’s need for physical exercise, our brain also needs exercises to keep fit. The Memory Bible by Gary Small is a book that introduces strategies for keeping your brain young. Dr. Small, the director of the UCLA Center on Aging, believes we can help diminish our forgetfulness with his brain fitness program.
Three basic memory skills that you should familiarize yourself with are: look, snap and connect.
Look. You must observe what you want to learn. One of the most common barriers is that we, as learners, do not pay attention when information is presented to us. Daily we rely on all of our senses but vision is the first skill we use when something new is placed in front of us. Be observant of your surroundings. Snap. Develop mental snapshots of what you want to remember. Creating these vivid pictures can help with your long-term memory. Details help with recalling a memory. Focus on the details of each snapshot you have. Connect. Link the images together in a related chain. Start with the first image, which is associated with the second, and in that way your images will become connected. Remember the first image must associate with something that will help you remember the chain.
This book has an incredible amount of information. Dr. Small even provides a list of foods that have been proven to be memory protective. With the help of this list, you can go on a “brain diet.” Also included are numerous mental aerobic exercises. There is a workbook section with a weekly and daily calendar so you can start the routine of exercising your brain. It is the most important part of your body. Treat it with care.
Reviewed by Quinn Kellum