Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We "catch" Mental Illness (Paperback)

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Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We
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Staff Reviews

Infectious Madness is an exploration of an emerging area of medical inquiry: the connections between pathogens and mental illness. We've known that some cases of schizophrenia are connected to toxoplasma gondii, which is why pregnant women are told to not scoop cat litter. We're starting to learn of some connections between strep throat and ADHD and OCD. And we've been exploring the connections between what happens in our intestines (where more neurons reside than in our heads) and what happens in our brains. With several relevant detours to explore elements of science culture such as paradigm shifts and metaphors, this book is rich with fascinating information.

— Matt


"Fascinating...A superb book."--Robert Sapolsky, Stanford professor of neuroscience and neurosurgery and author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

What causes mental illness? We've long blamed stress, trauma, and brain-chemistry imbalances. But a new theory is quietly achieving critical mass. In INFECTIOUS MADNESS, award-winning science writer Harriet Washington reveals that schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Alzheimer's, and anorexia also may be caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Weaving together cutting-edge research and case studies, INFECTIOUS MADNESS shows how strep throat can trigger rapid-onset OCD in a formerly healthy teen and how contact with cat litter elevates the risk of schizophrenia. Featuring a new afterword by the author, and rich in science, medical mysteries, cultural nuance, and evidence-based recommendations, INFECTIOUS MADNESS pulls back the curtain on a new paradigm with profound implications for us all.

About the Author

Harriet A. Washington has been a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, Shearing Fellow at the University of Nevada's Black Mountain Institute, and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics. Ms. Washington has also held fellowships at the Harvard School of Public Health, Stanford University, and DePaul University College of Law. She is the author of Medical Apartheid, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316277815
ISBN-10: 0316277819
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 320
Language: English