Author: Jennifer Ackerman
Country: US (2007)
Pages: 194 (253 including all the end notes!)
Genre: Non Fiction - Science
I read a review of this book right before the winter holiday and immediately put it on my TBR list. Science, specifically A&P and neuroscience, is a big interest to me. (Neuroscience is a relatively new interest, acquired mid-master degree). Ackerman, a woman who had been intrigued with the human body for years, finally decided to research it intensely and write a book revealing the "in's and out's" of your body in a 24 hour period. From the moment your body wakes until the end of the day when the body finally finds sleep Ackerman tells the body's story.
Overall, it was very enjoyable. The book was under 200 pages and the chapters were easily labeled, first by their major heading (Morning, Midday, Afternoon, Evening, Night) and then sub-headings under each (for example, under morning: arousal, making sense, wit). This allowed for perfect bookmarking spots, which was a very good thing for me. I find that if I read material rich with studies, facts, and statistics, I have to set the material aside for x-amount of time to process all of the new information. The only downside that I had with this novel is shared with a review in The New York Times - there were aspects when Ackermann incorporated personal stories or digressed on topics that only loosely tied in with the current theme. Also, there were areas that disappointed me because I was intrigued and yet the information seemed rushed. Still, I learned a lot of fun and intriguing facts, such as:
- "the brain's performance in the first half hour after waking is worse than it is if you've been up for twenty-four hours" (5)
- evidence that you really can't/shouldn't attempt to multi-task (29) Although, this is interesting to me because I remember reading a study last year some time that states the up and coming generations can multi-task due to the reprogramming (evolution?) of their brain based on their high-input environment.
- we are the "sharpest two and a half to four hours" after waking (36) I guess I always knew that from my own experience, it's just been proven now!
- the grumble of a hungry tummy is called a borborygmus.(45) isn't that just too much fun?!
- "in one slow kiss, partners swap more than five million bacteria" (57) unromantically ewww!
- they did some crazy experiments to prove whether cold weather actually causes colds - everything from sticking one group of subjects in a large freezer and another group in a room set at 60 degrees in their underwear, then expose them to the cold virus to see who would get it...putting the rhinovirus directly in the noses of prisoners and then exposing them to extreme cold (146-47)
- the doctor who promoted the training of interns to include working exhausting hours at hospitals and even encouraging them to live there in order to observe a wide variety of patients was actually addicted to cocaine
Overall, this would be a great book for anyone to read.