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review 2018-08-11 12:59
Magic Medicine
Magic Medicine: A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and Modern-Day Use of Psychedelic Plants and Substances - Cody Johnson

by Cody Johnson

 

I have to say that this is a bold book for both the author and the publisher. Most of the substances covered are things that have never and would never enter my body, but I found it interesting to read about them in such a straightforward way.

 

It's divided into four sections. Classical Psychedelics has things like Peyote, DMT, LSD and a few less familiar substances. Empathogenics covers MDA and MDNA (Ecstasy). Dissociative Psychedelics includes Ketamine, Salvia and Nitrous Oxide as well as one I never heard of called DMX. Unique Psychedelics covers Cannabis, which I wouldn't class as a psychedelic at all, and a few weird things like fish and sea sponges and mad honey. It appears to be the miscellaneous chapter.

 

The Introduction on the future of psychedelic medicine points out that many of these substances were invented for medicinal use, or in the case of natural substances like Cannabis and Peyote, used historically by Shamen. I hadn't known there was actually an organization called MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, that advocates proper research on psychedelics and is pushing to have them accepted into mainstream medicine.

 

The author is undeniably pro-psychedelics and I think even glosses over some of the down sides, but he cites research I've read about elsewhere of substances like MDMA being used successfully to treat PTSD and some forms of depression. The overall tone of the book is mostly scientific.

 

The history of where each substance came from and chemical compound information is covered, followed by a relation of what the experience is like, keeping in mind that such experiences are subjective. Famous names like Timothy Leary crop up in appropriate places as well as some lesser known names of researchers like Sasha Shulgin, who may be well known among those who study this subject but new to people like myself.

 

Therapeutic use of some substances is also explained as well as follow-on recreational use. The refreshing, no holds barred approach allows complete information regardless of legal status or morality police opinion.

 

Extensive references and index are included. The book would be appropriate to a medical library, though I found it very interesting for personal reading.

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text 2018-07-12 13:30
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review 2018-07-06 10:00
Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals Vol. 2
Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals, Volume 2 - Jill Stansbury

by Dr. Jill Stansbury, ND

 

This is the second of a five volume set of herbal formularies, this one focusing on respiration and circulation. It starts with an introduction about honoring traditional knowledge, remembering that modern pharmacology came out of folkloric herbal medicine and most medicines are still refined from the same plants our ancestors used in raw form.

 

The book is well presented and reads like a serious book on medicine rather than the sort of airy-fairy new age stuff you often see about herbalism. There are three chapters within 184 pages of fascinating information, partially laid out in encyclopedic form. The first chapter is The Art of Herbal Formulation. This covers diagnosis, symptoms, and basically how to determine what herbs to use for a problem.

 

There is preventative advice like how to support vitality instead of opposing disease. The second chapter goes into creating formulas for the circulatory system. This includes what nutrients will support various biological processes and parts of the system. Some of the information like using cardio glycosides makes me think that a doctor's advice would be needed rather than self-treatment, but as a reference volume for someone in the medical profession it would be brilliant.

 

The drawing of various herbal plants add visual interest and are very well done. A lot of the herbal names are full Latin rather than common names, though the common names are included in the encyclopedic lists, so this is a book for serious study. Even if it gives me mental images of shelves lined with arcane bottles and a wisened old man with a long beard as apothocary!

 

The third chapter is on formulas for respiratory conditions. Like the second chapter, it explains the processes and follows with an encyclopedic list of relevant herbs. There is an appendix to compare scientific names to common names followed by another one to translate the common names to the Latin, then a glossary of therapeutic terms.

 

Unlike a lot of reference books, I think this one would be worth reading all through to familiarize the reader with the material, after which it would sit well on the shelf of a medical reference library. Someone with a formal medical education would probably already be familiar with most of the terms, but I found it all rather interesting.

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review 2018-07-03 09:23
A #coming of age story full of atmosphere and a nostalgic look at a more innocent era
Son of a Preacher Man: A Novel - Karen M. Cox

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, check here if you are looking for reviews) and thank her and the author for the ARC copy of the book, which I freely chose to review.

Recently, I read and reviewed one of Karen M. Cox’s novels I Could Write a Book (you can read the review here) and as she was one of the authors who’d also taken part in one of my favourite recent anthologies (Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, check that review here), when I heard she was going to publish a new book and read the description, I had to check it out.

In contrast with the other two books, this book is not a Regency novel (it takes place in the South of the USA in the late 1950s –early 1960s), and it is not related to Jane Austen (although, like her novels, is excellent at reflecting the social mores of the place and the era). It is the story, narrated in the first person, of Billy Ray Davenport, a young man with a tragedy in his past (he lost his mother to a terrible accident), whose father is a travelling preacher. He used to spend his summers travelling with him (he went to school and stayed at his aunt’s the rest of the year), but when we meet him, just before he goes to medical school, he is due to spend a few weeks with a doctor, friend of the family. He hopes to gain medical knowledge and get a taste of what his future will be like. This summer will prove momentous for Billy Ray, who will learn much more about the world, small-town society, girls, and himself than he had known until then. What he experiences there will make him question some of his strong-held beliefs and what he is truly made of.

This novel captures beautifully the everyday life in a small-town, where rumours and whispers can destroy somebody’s reputation (especially a young girl’s), where everybody knows everybody else and there is nothing private and nowhere to hide.  Marlene, the daughter of the doctor Billy Ray is working with, takes a shine to him and proves to be very spiteful, badmouthing and spreading rumours about another girl, Lizzie. Lizzie is like a modern scarlet woman, and her behaviour repels and attracts Billy Ray in equal measure, putting his beliefs about proper behaviour and relationships between men and women to the test.

Lizzie is a great character. Although she does not always behave consistently, and at times she manages to make things more difficult for herself, we get to understand her and root for her. She has had to make herself strong and mistrusts everybody for very good reasons. She is different to the rest of the characters in the novel and in Orchard Hill, and it is not surprising that Billy Ray sets his eyes on her. She is a modern woman who knows her own mind and is prepared to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true.

Billy Ray feels very old-fashioned, perhaps even more because he falls for Lizzie, and the contrast between the opinions and behaviours of the two could not be more extreme, at least at first sight. Billy Ray is the preacher’s son of the title, and although we might be familiar with stories about the children of preachers rebelling against their strict religious upbringing (Footloose, for instance), he is a chip off the old block. I wondered if Billy Ray is not, in fact, even more morally upright and a stricter follower of the spirit of the Bible than his father is. He is a thoroughly good man (he struggles at times and is not perfect, but he is one of the genuinely good guys), and although he is young and naïve at the beginning of the story, he has the heart in the right place and tries very hard to live up to Christian moral standards. He is a thinking man and the roller-coaster of his emotions and his doubts and hesitations reflect well his age. The roles between the two main characters challenge the standard stereotypes, and we have the good and innocent young man and the experienced woman who tempts him trying to send him down the wrong path, rather than the rogue going trying to steal the virtue of an innocent young woman. Of course, things are not that simple, and the relationship between the two main characters has many nuances, ups and downs, and despite what they might think, they need each other to become better versions of themselves.

The rest of the characters are given less space (this is a coming of age story, after all, and adults are not the centre of the book, although the relationship between Billy Ray and his father is beautifully rendered) but even the characters we don’t get to know that well (the rest of Lizzie’s family, the doctor, the midwife) are convincing and engaging. There are parallels between Billy Ray and Lizzie and some of the older characters as if they embodied what would have happened to them if they hadn’t found each other. It is evident that Billy Ray is focused on telling the story of his relationship with Lizzie and the book reflects the single-mindedness of his protagonist, as the affairs of society and the world at large only rarely get mentioned.

The rhythm of the novel is paused and contemplative and it feels like the summer months felt when we were young: eternal and full of possibilities. The turn of phrase and the voices of the different characters are distinct and help recreate the Southern atmosphere, adding a vivid local feel, and some humorous touches. After the summer we follow the character’s first few years at university and we see him become a man. I don’t want to go into detail, but I can tell you I really enjoyed the ending of the book, which is in keeping with the rest of the novel.

Although religion and the character’s beliefs are very important to the story’s plot (I am not an expert, so I cannot comment if this novel would fit into the category of Christian books, or if it would be considered too daring, although there is no explicit sex and I cannot recall any serious swearing), and the main character might appear old-fashioned and not a typical young man, for me, that is one of its assets. It does not feel like a modernised recreation of the past, but as if it truly had been written by somebody who was recording the important aspects of his long-gone youth.  I recommend it to readers keen on books full of atmosphere and centred on characters and relationships that differ from the norm. It is also a great book for people looking to recreate the feeling of the late 1950s and early 60s in a Southern small town.

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text 2018-06-27 11:59
Bioelectric Medicine Market Opportunity Analysis, 2018-2026

Bioelectric medicine is a new and innovative approach to diagnose and treat injuries and diseases. All major organs of the body are connected to the nerves, which allows the brain to monitor and regulate the functions of the organs. Bioelectric medicine refers to the usage of a device to modulate and read the electrical activity within the body’s nervous systems. Nerve blocking devices or nerve stimulating devices that are held against the skin or implanted on a nerve have the potential to regulate specific nerve activity, make specific changes in organ function, and also restore health, without much complicated side effects of pharmaceutical agents.

Click To Continue Reading on Bioelectric Medicine Market

Bioelectric medicine technology is used to record, block, and stimulate neural signals to change the way diseases and injuries are treated. It is also used for the treatment of conditions such as cancer, paralysis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Electroceuticals are alternatives to drug based remedies.

For instance, in 2016, GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (GSK) merged with Google’s parent company Alphabet to set up a new bioelectric company called Galvani Bioelectronics, which will benefit over 2 billion people who are suffering from chronic diseases. GSK invested around US$ 615 million for the development of Galvani Bioelectronics. In 2015, Synapse Electroceutical Technology, a UK-based company launched a new product Accel-Heal, which is a non-invasive class 2A medical device. The device also promotes healing of leg ulcers by using electrical energy. Accel-Heal delivers a sequence of low level, pre-programmed and sub sensory electrical energy through surface of the skin. Synapse Electroceutical Technology has a product for venous leg ulcer management in the pipeline, which is expected to fuel growth of the bioelectric medicine market over the forecast period.

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Key Vendors:

Medtronic PLC, Sonava, Boston Scientific Corporation, St Jude Medical, Liva Nova PLC, Biotronic, Second Sight Medical Products, Nevro Corp, and Electrocare among others.

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