Asleep[Read] ➬ Asleep By Molly Caldwell Crosby – Another fascinating foray into medical history from the author of The American Plague In 1918 a world war was raging and a lethal strain of influenza was circling the globe In the midst of all this de Another fascinating foray into medical history from the author of The American Plague In a world war was raging and a lethal strain of influenza was circling the globe In the midst of all this death a bizarre disease appeared in Europe Eventually known as encephalitis lethargica or sleeping sickness it would spread across the world leaving millions dead or locked in institutions Then in it would disappear as suddenly as it had arrived or so the doctors at first thought Asleep set in s and 's New York follows a group of neurologists through hospitals and insane asylums as they try to solve this worldwide epidemic The symptoms could include not only unending sleep but dangerous insomnia facial tics catatonia Parkinson's and even violent insanity Molly Caldwell Crosby acclaimed author of The American Plague explores the frightening history of this forgotten disease and details the frantic effort to conuer it before it strikes again. Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || PinterestReading a book about a disease that makes people go to sleep and never wake up again is probably not the best bedtime reading but when it comes to books I often make bad choices In case you couldn't tell from the title ASLEEP is about the sleeping sickness also known as encephalitis lethargica literally Latin for that thing that makes your brain swell and makes you sleepy It's a disease that's mostly been swept under the rug and in this book which sews together the case studies of several people who were afflicted with the disease Crosby discusses the mystery behind enchephalitis lethargica and how it affected the infectedFor the most part I thought ASLEEP was an interesting book and devoured it fairly uickly Sometimes these medical history books can be too gruesome for me and yes what happens to the victims in this book is truly awful one case was particularly horrific and I remember reading about that particular incident in one of my psychology textbooks in college as an example of how hospitals should exert rigorous supervision over patients with a tendency to self harmASLEEP is a bit of an unsatisfying read though for two reasons First it's a mystery without a satisfactory ending Doctors still aren't uite sure what caused the sleeping sickness and while there are theories autoimmune response? multiple diseases acting in tandem? there is no solution Contrast that to another medical mystery book I read a while ago about prions where the book builds up to that one eureka moment where people realize hmm maybe eating brains is a bad ideaThe second aspect of this book that was a bit of a downer for me was the way that the patients themselves were discussed This book did not really read the way a psychologist or psychiatrist would talk about patients and I looked up the author and it appears that she is a journalist with no psychology background that I can see seems that she has a Master of Arts I bring this up because one of the things that they teach you in psychology or any other medical related science many many times is to not fall into the trap of defining people by their disease People make fun of PC language but addressing people by the correct labels shows respect and feeling that you are a respected human being is crucial to healing Each case study is portrayed as a distinct before and after with the before being held up as the ideal and the after being this utterly ruinous thing that destroyed their lives and made them shattered shells of their former selves etc and I could almost hear all of my psych professors collectively groaning in my mind This other review by Talulah on Goodreads goes into depth on the specifics of the language used to describe the patientsIt felt a bit like tabloid sensationalism I realized that something about this book was putting me off and didn't realize what it was until I read the epilogue which ties back to the prologue about how the author's own grandmother being afflicted with sleeping sickness was one of the inspirations for her writing about the disease I thought that was really interesting until I read the end part about how her when her grandmother was dying she was trying to think about something to remember her by as a person but couldn't get over the empty space the disease had left in her paraphrasing Annnd that's how the book ends On that noteI did enjoy ASLEEP but the writing could have been less sensationalistic and delicate in how it handled the cases of the various patients who had the sleeping sickness I get that this book is older and people know about the importance of proper labels now and even Oliver Sacks who endorsed this book comes across as comparatively insensitive in his oldest book THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT when you compare it to some of his recent titles Psychology is a new field and it's changing so fast that by the time some people finally feel competent to talk about it some of the terms are already out of date I mean I still see people who make jokes that schizophrenia means multiple personality it doesn't or that you only use 10% of your brain good luck with that All it takes to change that is a little research and extra care3 stars I was disappointed in this book I started it with high hopes because the little I know about this forgotten epidemic indicated that it would make for fascinating reading Encephalitis lethargica is now mostly remembered as a footnote in the history of Parkinson's Disease described by Oliver Sachs in his book Awakenings but I was curious to know about its orgin its relation to the great Influenza Pandemic and its seuelae This book left me frustrated It felt like the author was not all that interested in the disease itself but in the socio economic changes that the US especially NEw York City was going through in the 1920s The sections regarding some of the well known physicians treating patients with the disease felt padded much biographical detail but little of it relevant to this disease The same applied to the illustrations why would a reproduction of a ballot for the president of the American Neurological Society be of interest to the reader? Why would a picture of a hospital years before or after it housed victims of encephalitis lethargica be of interest to the reader? The gimmick of naming each chapter for a patient fell flat since the description of the patients often read like hurried afterthoughts or sometimes there simply wasn't enough information available to make these case histories interestingI will admit that I did not finish the book and so if the second half was better than the part I slogged through I will have missed that Conclusion this fascinating disease deserves a better book than this AhemSo we all know that I like diseases right? I mean I don’t enjoy having them and if you had one I would be uite sad for you but I like reading about them Because I am a ghoul I’ve tried to come up with other explanations for my fascination but that’s it the Mankiller is a ghoul Plain and simple End of storyWhat with being a ghoul and all Molly Caldwell Crosby’s Asleep The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries definitely appealed to me Because it’s a relatively new book and my library didn’t have it I ordered a copy of it ON MY KINDLE Man was that ever a waste of moneyAsleep is a history of “the sleeping sickness” that swept the world in the wake of the Great Influenza of WWI Encephalitis lethargica as it is medically known is an illness that begins with flu like symptoms then progresses into either an endless slumber some people slept for as long as 180 days or an insomnia so complete that it eventually kills the patient For those who “recovered from” the illness–about a third of all victims–the prognosis was bleak adult patients gradually lost most or all motor control while the children who were afflicted suffered from horrible unexplained changes in mood and behavior Previously placid young people suddenly began physically attacking their friends siblings parents teachers–and self injurious behavior was distressingly common One young woman Crosby mentions removed most of her own teeth and put out both her own eyes When asked the children said that they felt compelled to do these things and exhibited a great deal of distress about their own actions; unfortunately for them they were not sociopaths and did not enjoy hurting themselves or others Something had just gone very very wrong in their brains and they seem to have lost most impulse controlPS although a huge project to cure encephalitis lethargica ran all the way up through the 1930s research into the disease was largely discontinued thereafter in favor of wide spread and reoccurring illnesses like polio Encephalitis lethargica has no cure and cases still periodically pop up Cheerful thought huh?Clearly I find the subject matter of Asleep fascinating because well how could you not? But unfortunately Crosby’s writing is dullsville managing to destroy any moments of narrative tension and also? The number of times she referred to the victims of encephalitis lethargica as “broken ” or “damaged” or “destroyed” was frankly appalling Look it’s wrong to say that about anyone simply because they happen to have some kind of illness Period But it’s even worse when the people you’re saying it about would have beenare fully conscious of the fact that you’re saying it One of the great tragedies of encephalitis lethargica is that the patients even the seemingly catatonic ones were aware They were aware of their surroundings the whole time In one case that Crosby described a doctor told the parents of a patient that he fully expected her to die; believing the girl to be comatose he said this right in front of herEven though she was “asleep” she criedOver and over again Crosby described how the minds of these patients were somehow divorced from the actions of their bodies they would scream kick bite injure themselves and not be able to understand why they did these things or– importantly–how to stop doing them Personally I think it’s wrong to call most anyone “broken” but to say that about someone who’s fully capable of understanding what you’re saying and what it means? Talk about fucking cruel These people had and in some cases have a disease that caused them horrible pain and suffering; that doesn’t mean they were “broken” They’re not toys with snapped strings; they’re human beings with an illness Talking about them as if they are things just adds to the pain This is the story of encephalitis lethargica or sleeping sickness which swept the world in waves in the late 19th and early 20th centuries It is written for a popular audience rather than a scholarly one This nightmarish disease has been largely forgotten though it still occurs occasionally in modern times and could occur again in epidemic form since there is still very little known about how to treat it When I picked up this book 175 at the library's used book sale I didn't pay attention to the fact that the author Molly Caldwell Crosby also wrote another book I read recently The American Plague The Untold Story of Yellow Fever the Epidemic That Shaped Our History That book was interesting though not terribly well written When I realized it was the same author I looked at the publication date assuming Asleep must have been her first work The writing style is terrible extremely clichéd and amateur In fact Asleepis Crosby's second book Most writers get better as they go along but that's obviously not the case with Molly Caldwell Crosby She ends practically every chapter with a cliffhanger which is annoying in fiction and completely inappropriate in nonfiction She spends time describing 1920s New York than she does encephalitis lethargica the purported subject of this book Crosby apparently has a MA in science writing from Johns Hopkins University so I can only assume that either she completely half assed this book or Hopkins is giving out degrees to any random person nowIn sum not recommended If you're at all interested in diseases epidemiology or even just scientific narrative this book opens up an amazing world of a disease that changed the way modern science regards the human brain But just as uickly this disease disappeared into medical history This book chronicles not only its world wide spread from the battlefields of WWI to the streets of New York City but also discusses the history of literature that might hold clues of prior occurrences of the disease I loved this book I happen to catch an interview on BookTV wherein this author and Rebecca Skloot were the guest “interviewees” Came away from that experience with a desire to read the books written by these two young women In the case of Ms Skloot her book is a best seller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” This one is not as popular a read I guess Mores the pity Ms Crosby has managed to write a piece of non fiction that reads very much like a novel The “Forgotten Epidemic” which is the subject matter of this book is encephalitis lethargica aka “Sleeping Sickness” Asleep is set in 1920's and ‘30's New York This was a world wide epidemic that coincided with the Spanish flu pandemic Of concern to all of us in the 21st century is the fact that doctors do not know whether encephalitis lethargica is caused by a virus bacteria or the body’s own immune response “They do know that it may reemerge in the wake of a new flu pandemic” “The kaleidoscope of symptoms ranged widely from unending sleep to dangerous insomnia facial tics to catatonia Parkinson’s to violent insanity” It struck all levels of New York society from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor “Patients who fell victim to it learned the worst fate was not dying of sleeping sickness but surviving it” The one positive effect that emerged from this epidemic was the growth of the field of neurology In this book you follow a group of neurologists through hospitals and insane asylums as they try to solve the mystery that surrounds this disease Ms Crosby provides you with an understanding of the life and times that these pioneers of medicine contend with in order to advance their understanding of this mysterious ailment There are case studies where in you glean a clear and frightening knowledge of the devastating effects of this insidious affliction The good news is — “Antivirals antibiotics and steroids could all help a patient recover before encephalitis a swelling of the brain has a chance to cause damage Scientists are committed to that work today” A highly readable read Appealed to me on several levels not the least of which is my unending interest in history This is a good review to the history of this encephelitis lethargica commonly known as Sleeping Sickness Terrible horrific and rarely spoken about at all All of us have heard repeatedly of the pandemic of Flu following WWI that killed millions but so little of this aftermath pandemic 1918 through the 1930's And it in so many cases throughout the entire world seemed to shimmy into the same grooves as the economic Depression and with so much misdiagnosis This covers other subjects of the economics health of cities sanitation of water and foodstuffs feminist onus to vote and other formerly non traditional roles and entwines them with the tales of the medical people who fought for knowledge and cure of this state of lethargia It so often mixed the eyes of the times with other concurrent issues that IMHO an entire star was lost to the critical focus on this exact disease's study or progression toward knowledge to fight it The book is set into patient chapters and I did love that aspect You got much of particulars and various outcomes no two patients seem to ever be alike in all symptoms and of the direct horrific knowledge that 13 die 13 never fully awake again 13 do wake return to a normal But that last 13rd centers the most horrific details of all because the original personality is hugely and negatively altered Described most often in brain damaged mind destroyed or insane perimeters In one case a man was in an institution for 70 years after his cure for instance But that is far from the worst scenarios My last composite take on this living death condition is that it is probably an immune reaction Or some agent in the body causing an autoimmune response that results in damage to critical areas of the hypothalamus and other essential brain structures But 5 million and so many teenagers people in mid life children? And where has it gone? Most humans on the Earth at that time got that Flu and this was an aftermath to the same people who had recovered from it? And how many were labeled as Parkinson's or some psychiatric label for other numerous insanity mental health descriptions? And the forms of warehousing And how much of those progressions 3 years later 10 years later etc were never even recordedThis was a scary read Really really scary Trapped in a body that will not respond and becoming insane to your own body cognition or position awareness self mutilating often for years and years This author puts up some strong arguments that both Hitler and Woodrow Wilson had after effects of this pandemic encephalitis with long term effects In Wilson's case the altered states were labeled stroke when the symptoms were not those of stroke in great majority Much was hidden from the public too Will it happen again and is it related to how the immune system is left after another horrendous infection? Those answers are still very unclearAt least 10 doctors or pivotal researchers in this uest were highlighted I had not heard of any of them by name except one It is worth reading for that aspect alone I started with book with high hopes as the subject of the book is so fascinating and I have enjoyed a number of similar books I was uite disappointed in this book however My major complaint is that there was just a skimpiness of the story There really was not much information about the epidemic and the disease in this book Instead we learn uite a bit too much for my taste about a couple of physicians who studied the disorder and either set up or ran organizations that studied and treated the disease but none made any substantive progress in understanding the disease These figures are part of the story but I found none of them particularly interesting or noteworthy The reader also learns much about the historic epoch most of it only modestly relevant The author did uite a bit of novelizing eg writing in some detail about what a particular person was feeling and wearing the weather the smells and sights that he or she encounters but where is the beef?Some of the thinness of the story no doubt reflects the state of the historic record but much could have been done How did they go about making the vaccines so often talked about late in the book? Given the freuency and salience of the obsessions and compulsions in the affected what is the current science of other disorders that have obsessive and compulsive components? I liked the idea of the interspersed case histories but these too I found lacking in depth Are there really no better detailed and informative cases available?Further the author also seems to lack basic understanding of some important issue For example on page 39 she wrote Still it would be several years before X ray technology could identify emotions or brain deathhuh? X ray technology can do neither Also she does not seem to understand that the term insanity is a legal one not a medical diagnosiseg p 124It has been years since I read Oliver Sacks book about the group of encephalitis lethargica patients that he treated and my recollection of it is thus a bit hazy But I certainly would recommend it rather than this book to anyone interested in the subject This Damn Book I've never been outright taunted like this with my desire to know something Here a sample variant of this repeats over and over through the book Of course all that would change when dr x met Sally The form her illness took would puzzle some of the if the brightest scientists for years to come Let me go back to the day to day lives of the doctors and oh did you know there was a thing called the Great Depression let's discuss its causes and how each important doctor's fortunes would be affected Also Sally was two sentences that you read the whole frickin thing for Give me a red pen and I could knock this down by a third at LEAST without losing anything important or interesting However the case studies ARE interesting Skimmity skim skim for me

Hardcover  ñ Asleep PDF ¼
  • Hardcover
  • 291 pages
  • Asleep
  • Molly Caldwell Crosby
  • English
  • 15 August 2014
  • 9780425225707