Download Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande PDF

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By Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal, Gawande examines his studies as a general practitioner, as he confronts the realities of getting older and demise in his sufferers and in his relatives, in addition to the bounds of what he can do. And he emerges with tale that crosses the globe and historical past, exploring questions that diversity from the curious to the profound: What occurs to people's tooth as they get previous? Did humans particularly dedicate senecide, the sacrifice of the aged? Why do the elderly so dread nursing houses and hospitals? How may still anyone provide another individual the dreadful information that they're going to die?

This is a narrative informed simply as Atul Gawande can — penetrating people's lives and likewise the platforms that experience advanced to control our mortality. these structures, he observes, repeatedly fail to serve — or perhaps recognize — people's wishes and priorities past mere survival. And the implications are devastating lives, households, or even complete economies. yet, as he unearths, it does not must be this manner.

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Additional resources for Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

Sample text

By age eighty-five, working memory and judgment are sufficiently impaired that 40 percent of us have textbook dementia. is the subject of vigorous debate. The classical view is that aging happens because of random wear and tear. The newest view holds that aging is more orderly and genetically programmed. Proponents of this view point out that animals of similar species and exposure to wear and tear have markedly different life spans. 3 years. Perhaps animals are like plants, with lives that are, to a large extent, internally governed.

Aging is the story of our parts. Consider the teeth. The hardest substance in the human body is the white enamel of the teeth. With age, it nonetheless wears away, allowing the softer, darker layers underneath to show through. Meanwhile, the blood supply to the pulp and the roots of the teeth atrophies, and the flow of saliva diminishes; the gums tend to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth, exposing the base, making them unstable and elongating their appearance, especially the lower ones.

Engineers therefore design these machines with multiple layers of redundancy: with backup systems, and backup systems for the backup systems. The backups may not be as efficient as the first-line components, but they allow the machine to keep going even as damage accumulates. Gavrilov argues that, within the parameters established by our genes, that’s exactly how human beings appear to work. We have an extra kidney, an extra lung, an extra gonad, extra teeth. The DNA in our cells is frequently damaged under routine conditions, but our cells have a number of DNA repair systems.

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