Blog Archives

Science in the headlines, Rae Varcoe

The Edge of Life: Controversies and Challenges in Human Health Mike Berridge BWB Texts, $15.00, ISBN 9780909321339 BWB Texts is publishing a series of “Short books on big topics by great New Zealand writers” each month. They are edited by

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Health, Non-fiction and Review

The fungibility of human longevity, Charlotte Paul

The Healthy Country?: A History of Life and Death in New Zealand
Alistair Woodward and Tony Blakely
Auckland University Press, $50.00,
ISBN 9781869408138

Non-Māori New Zealanders lived longer than any other peoples on earth between 1876 and 1940. Figuring out why is the starting point for this fascinating and scholarly study. Of course, even this statement begs a question. These figures apply to only a segment, not the total population of New Zealand, yet the comparisons are generally with total populations of other countries. Nevertheless, the non-Māori life expectancy was far ahead, and this was the only data available until 1913 (when Māori deaths were first collected). Moreover, epidemiologists Woodward and Blakely are properly even-handed and comprehensive in investigating both Māori and non-Māori life expectancy from pre-contact until 2011.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Health, History, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

Lessons from history, Bronwyn Labrum

Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th Century New Zealand
Margaret Sparrow
Victoria University Press, $40.00,
ISBN 9780864739360

Someone I follow on Twitter reported that a friend of hers had no idea that abortion is yet to be decriminalised in New Zealand. This was tweeted in the context of the debates about the 2014 general election, when issues about abortion were barely raised. Increasingly liberal practice since the late 1970s has made abortion services more widely accessible, and extremely safe. But those who were part of that social media conversation, as well as a much wider audience, deserve to read this second, much needed book from the redoubtable Margaret Sparrow, well-known for her long career in reproductive and general health and publicly recognised for her services to medicine and to the community.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Gender, Health, History, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

No drive-by answers, David Cohen

Sorrows of a Century: Interpreting Suicide in New Zealand, 1900-2000
John C Weaver
Bridget Williams Books, $60.00,
ISBN 9781927277232

All of us seek happiness, Pascal declared centuries ago, even at the point of a warm gun. “This is without exception,” argued the author of the Pensées:

Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Health, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

Delivery suite, Rae Varcoe

The Rise and Fall of National Women’s Hospital
Linda Bryder
Auckland University Press
ISBN 9781869408091

Many readers will be familiar with the furore which arose when Linda Bryder‘s A History of the ‘Unfortunate Experiment’ at National Women’s Hospital (2009) concluded that Herb Green’s management of pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix was not an experiment and that Dame Sylvia Cartwright was in error. Bryder’s view was that Green’s non-interventional management of such cervical abnormalities was in line with that of other academic units overseas and, as the patients were not randomised, but treated on a case-by-case basis, the treatment was not experimental. This continues to be an area of vigorous debate (see letters in the New Zealand Listener for 19 and 26 April 2014). The Cartwright Enquiry book was a diversion from the research and construction of this comprehensive history of National Women’s Hospital for which Bryder received a Marsden Fund grant in 2003.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Health, History, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

Diagnostic criteria, Rae Varcoe

Being a Doctor: Understanding Medical Practice Hamish Wilson and Wayne Cunningham Otago University Press, $35.00, ISBN 9781877578366 I have been a doctor for 45 years. How I wish that this volume had been available 46 years ago. I emerged from

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Health, Non-fiction and Review

Profiting from health, Brian Easton

Democratic Governance and Health: Hospitals, Politics and Health Policy in New Zealand Miriam J Laugesen and Robin Gauld Otago University Press, $40.00. ISBN 9781877578 274 I have long puzzled over the point of local democracy in the highly centralised state

See more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Health, Non-fiction and Review

Medical check-up, Rae Varcoe

The Good Doctor: What Patients Want  Ron Paterson   Auckland University Press, $40.00,  ISBN 9781869405922 Neither title nor subtitle accurately reflects the thrust of this book. It is less about how we might distinguish the good doctor (and define what

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Health, Non-fiction and Review

Getting fit for the Empire, Caroline Daley

Strong, Beautiful and Modern: National Fitness in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, 1935–1960 Charlotte Macdonald Bridget Williams Books, $50.00, ISBN 978927131404 In July 1937 the Physical Training and Recreation Act was passed in Britain. A few months later the

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Health, History, Non-fiction, Review and Sport

Orchids in socks, Rae Varcoe

Quarantine! Protecting New Zealand at the Border  Gavin McLean and Tim Shoebridge Otago University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877372827   The word quarantine derives from the Italian for 40: the number of days deemed appropriate to seclude a vessel known to

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Health, Non-fiction and Review
Search
Search by category

Read more