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Anatomy & Physiology

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  1. 9.5 hrs • 2/17/2015 • Unabridged

    From acclaimed journalist Bill Gifford comes a roaring journey into the world of anti-aging science—a place filled with extraordinary breakthroughs and dangerous deceptions. Spring Chicken is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on aging and lifespan—from wrinkles and baldness down to the innermost workings of cells—that examines how human beings might be able to live longer, healthier lives. In his funny, self-deprecating voice, veteran reporter Bill Gifford takes readers into cutting-edge labs where scientists are working to achieve miraculous breakthroughs, like purging “senescent” cells from mice to reverse the effects of aging. He’ll reveal what has happened with resveratrol, the “red wine pill” that made headlines a few years ago, how your fat tissue is trying to kill you, and how in the near future doctors will be able to prescribe life-extending medications uniquely tailored for each individual. Gifford separates the wheat from the chaff as he exposes hoaxes and scams foisted upon an aging society and arms readers with the best possible advice on what to do, what not to do, and what life-changing treatments may be right around the corner. A mixture of deep reporting, fascinating science, and prescriptive takeaway, this is a brilliant examination of a universal obsession: What can be done about getting old?

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    Spring Chicken

    9.5 hrs • 2/17/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 12.1 hrs • 2/3/2015 • Unabridged

    The secret history of our most vital organ—the human heart The Man Who Touched His Own Heart tells the raucous, gory, and mesmerizing story of the heart, from the first “explorers” who dug up cadavers and plumbed their hearts’ chambers, through the first heart surgeries—which had to be completed in three minutes before death arrived—to heart transplants and the latest medical efforts to prolong our hearts’ lives, almost defying nature in the process. Thought of as the seat of our soul, then as a mysteriously animated object, the heart is still more a mystery than it is understood. Why do most animals only get one billion beats? How did modern humans get to over two billion beats—effectively letting us live out two lives? Why are sufferers of gingivitis more likely to have heart attacks? Why do we often undergo expensive procedures when cheaper ones are just as effective? What do Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Shelley, and contemporary Egyptian archaeologists have in common? And what does it really feel like to touch your own heart or to have someone else’s beating inside your chest? Rob Dunn’s fascinating history of our hearts brings us deep inside the science, history, and stories of the four chambers we depend on most.

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    The Man Who Touched His Own Heart

    Read by Robert Fass
    12.1 hrs • 2/3/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 10.4 hrs • 1/1/2014 • Unabridged

    “In high school, I wondered whether the Jamaican Americans who made our track team so successful might carry some special speed gene from their tiny island. In college, I ran against Kenyans, and wondered whether endurance genes might have traveled with them from East Africa. At the same time, I began to notice that a training group on my team could consist of five men who run next to one another, stride for stride, day after day, and nonetheless turn out five entirely different runners. How could this be?” We all knew a star athlete in high school. The one who made it look so easy. He was the starting quarterback and shortstop; she was the all-state point guard and high-jumper. They were naturals—or were they? The debate is as old as physical competition. Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports, or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? The truth is far messier than a simple dichotomy between nature and nurture. In the decade since the sequencing of the human genome, researchers have slowly begun to uncover how the relationship between biological endowments and a competitor’s training environment affects athleticism. Sports scientists have gradually entered the era of modern genetic research. In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature versus nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle. He investigates the so-called ten-thousand-hour rule to uncover whether rigorous and consistent practice from a young age is the only route to athletic excellence. Along the way Epstein dispels many of our perceptions about why top athletes excel. He shows why some skills that we assume are innate, like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball or cricket batter, are not and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like an athlete’s will to train, might in fact have important genetic components. This subject necessarily involves digging deep into sensitive topics like race and gender. Epstein explores controversial questions such as: Are black athletes genetically predetermined to dominate both sprinting and distance running, and are their abilities influenced by Africa’s geography? Are there genetic reasons to separate male and female athletes in competition? Should we test the genes of young children to determine if they are destined for stardom? Can genetic testing determine who is at risk of injury, brain damage, or even death on the field? Through on-the-ground reporting from below the equator and above the Arctic Circle, revealing conversations with leading scientists and Olympic champions, and interviews with athletes who have rare genetic mutations or physical traits, Epstein forces us to rethink the very nature of athleticism.

    Available Formats: CD

    The Sports Gene

    10.4 hrs • 1/1/14 • Unabridged
    CD
  4. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    14.9 hrs • 10/1/2013 • Unabridged

    In a book that illuminates, as never before, the evolutionary story of the human body, Daniel Lieberman deftly examines the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the advent of bipedalism, the shift to a nonfruit-based diet, the rise of hunting and gathering, our superlative endurance athletic abilities, the development of a very large brain, and the incipience of modern cultural abilities. He elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution and how it further transformed our bodies during the agricultural andiIndustrial revolutions. Lieberman illuminates how these ongoing changes have brought many benefits but also have created novel conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, resulting in a growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, including type 2 diabetes. He proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of “dysevolution,” a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally, provocatively, he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes oblige us to create a more health-giving environment.

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    The Story of the Human Body

    14.9 hrs • 10/1/13 • Unabridged
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  5. 10.4 hrs • 8/1/2013 • Unabridged

    We all knew a star athlete in high school. The one who made it look so easy. He was the starting quarterback and shortstop; she was the all-state point guard and high-jumper. Naturals. Or were they? The debate is as old as physical competition. Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? The truth is far messier than a simple dichotomy between nature and nurture. In the decade since the sequencing of the human genome, researchers have slowly begun to uncover how the relationship between biological endowments and a competitor’s training environment affects athleticism. Sports scientists have gradually entered the era of modern genetic research. In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle. He investigates the so-called ten-thousand-hour rule to uncover whether rigorous and consistent practice from a young age is the only route to athletic excellence. Along the way, Epstein dispels many of our perceptions about why top athletes excel. He shows why some skills that we assume are innate, like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball or cricket batter, are not, and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like an athlete’s will to train, might in fact have important genetic components.

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    The Sports Gene

    10.4 hrs • 8/1/13 • Unabridged
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  6. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    8.3 hrs • 4/1/2013 • Unabridged

    The irresistible, ever-curious, and always bestselling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. “America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of―or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists―who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

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    Gulp

    8.3 hrs • 4/1/13 • Unabridged
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  7. 10.1 hrs • 3/19/2013 • Unabridged

    How is it possible to have vivid memories of something that never happened? How can siblings remember the same event from their childhoods so differently? Do the selections and distortions of memory reveal a truth about the self? Why are certain memories tied to specific places? Does your memory really get worse as you get older? A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing fixed, unchanging memories, we create recollections anew each time we are called upon to remember. As psychologist Charles Fernyhough explains, remembering is an act of narrative imagination as much as it is the product of a neurological process. In Pieces of Light, he eloquently illuminates this compelling scientific breakthrough via a series of personal stories—a visit to his college campus to see if his memories hold up, an interview with his 93-year-old grandmother, conversations with those whose memories are affected by brain damage and trauma—each illustrating memory’s complex synergy of cognitive and neurological functions. Fernyhough guides readers through the fascinating new science of autobiographical memory, covering topics including imagination and the power of sense associations to cue remembering. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, Pieces of Light brings together science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to help us better understand the ways we remember—and the ways we forget.

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    Pieces of Light

    10.1 hrs • 3/19/13 • Unabridged
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  8. 9.8 hrs • 9/11/2012 • Unabridged

    An enlightening investigation of the Pleistocene’s dual character as a geologic time—and as a cultural idea The Pleistocene is the epoch of geologic time closest to our own. It’s a time of ice ages, global migrations, and mass extinctions—of woolly rhinos, mammoths, giant ground sloths, and not least early species of Homo. It’s the world that created ours. But outside that environmental story there exists a parallel narrative that describes how our ideas about the Pleistocene have emerged. This story explains the place of the Pleistocene in shaping intellectual culture, and the role of a rapidly evolving culture in creating the idea of the Pleistocene and in establishing its dimensions. This second story addresses how the epoch, its Earth-shaping events, and its creatures, both those that survived and those that disappeared, helped kindle new sciences and a new origins story as the sciences split from the humanities as a way of looking at the past. Ultimately, it is the story of how the dominant creature to emerge from the frost-and-fire world of the Pleistocene came to understand its place in the scheme of things. A remarkable synthesis of science and history, The Last Lost World describes the world that made our modern one.

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    The Last Lost World

    9.8 hrs • 9/11/12 • Unabridged
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  9. 8.2 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    Why are women biologically driven to find Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome? Can more sex help ensure a safe pregnancy? What effect does pornography have on a man's fertility? In this compelling follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Survival of the Sickest, Dr. Sharon Moalem takes us on a trip from prehistory to the forefront of cutting-edge medical research, and through a bedroom or two, to tell the story of how human sexuality has developed over time. How Sex Works challenges common perceptions about our bodies and provides astonishing discoveries from the frontiers of science as it traces the transformation of sex across species and through time to its current role in human societies. Find out the answers to such provocative questions as: –Can the birth control pill influence the type of men women are attracted too –What do men and honeybees have in common when it comes to sex? –Why do hourglass-shaped women tend to be especially fertile? –When are women most likely to cheat? –Can twins have different fathers? From the composition and function of human sex organs to the fascinating biochemistry behind sexual attraction, How Sex Works presents captivating new ideas and surprising answers to questions about contraception, fertility, circumcision, menopause, STDs, homosexuality, orgasms, and more. This is an entertaining, comprehensive exploration of culture, biology, and history that takes us far beyond our common understanding of sex.

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    How Sex Works

    8.2 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  10. 6.0 hrs • 10/2/2001 • Abridged

    Sudden, extreme deaths have always fascinated us—and now more than ever as athletes and travelers rise to the challenges of high-risk sports and journeys on the edge. In this spellbinding book, veteran travel and outdoor sports writer Peter Stark reenacts the dramas of what happens inside our bodies, our minds, and our souls when we push ourselves to the absolute limits of human endurance. Combining the adrenaline high of extreme sports with the startling facts of physiological reality, Stark narrates a series of outdoor adventure stories in which thrill can cross the line to mortal peril. Each death or brush with death is at once a suspense story, a cautionary tale, and a medical thriller. Stark describes in unforgettable detail exactly what goes through the mind of a cross-country skier as his body temperature plummets—apathy at ninety-one degrees, stupor at ninety. He puts us inside the body of a doomed kayaker tumbling helplessly underwater for two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes. He conjures up the physiology of a snowboarder frantically trying not to panic as he consumes the tiny pocket of air trapped around his face under thousands of pounds of snow. These are among the dire situations that Stark transforms into harrowing accounts of how our bodies react to trauma, how reflexes and instinct compel us to fight back, and how, why, and when we let go of our will to live. In an increasingly tamed and homogenized world, risk is not only a means of escape but a path to spirituality. As Peter Stark writes, “You must try to understand death intimately and prepare yourself for death in order to live a full and satisfying life.” In this fascinating, informative book, Stark reveals exactly what we’re getting ourselves into when we choose to live—and die—at the extremes of endurance.

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    Last Breath

    6.0 hrs • 10/2/01 • Abridged
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