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Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar
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Heart: A History

by Sandeep Jauhar

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Sandeep Jauhar has been fascinated by the heart since he was a small boy. Lucky for him that he has been able to pursue a career as a highly trained cardiologist. And lucky for us that he is able to write. This book is a relatively small volume and the writing begins rather simply. As the book progresses he subtly introduces more complex, thought provoking ideas.

History and culture imbue the human heart with a great deal of metaphoric and physical significance. To many it embodies the seat of emotion, the core of the soul, and it is the linchpin between life and death. Because of the heart's physical vulnerability, medical treatment was largely unexplored until the end of the 19th century. Dr. Jauhar chronicles the history of experimental and clinical cardiology with details of the (mostly) men who doggedly challenged physiological frontiers, sometimes to the point of their own demise.

The central part of the book looks at the heart as a complex machine, with each chapter focusing on aspects of that machine: as a pump, a generator, wiring, etc. The writing is clear and accessible to a layperson. His goal is to foster understanding in the general public and he does that well. He takes us step wise through the development of the clinical understanding of those aspects of the heart and the treatments derived from that understanding.

Woven through the narrative is the author's family history of heart disease and the impact those events on him and his family. Human emotion and the heart is a secondary theme throughout the book and he ends the book on that chord. After many years of clinical practice during rapid advances in surgical and pharmacological treatment of the heart, the author opines that we are at the point of diminishing returns in those areas. Perhaps the next great advances in the prevention and treatment of heart disease will come from our ability as a species to address the psychological, social, and political roots that lead to promoting the health and well being of our hearts. ( )
  tangledthread | Mar 24, 2019 |
Really wanted to like it. Was excited to read it. Had a lot of good info and a lot of things I didnt know. But it never grabbed me. Did enjoy reading the part about Sinai Hospital in the late 60's/early 70's developing the internal Defibrillator device. Checked with Joe and he knew the docs. Susan even babysat for them> Small world. ( )
  bermandog | Mar 9, 2019 |
Fascinating history of the heart in culture and medicine. Dr. Jauhar personalizes the advances in cardiology and explains the limits of technology. ( )
  MM_Jones | Nov 11, 2018 |
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