(The Island of the Colourblind) PDF á Oliver Sacks


In the book Steele who has studied the disease for most of his professional career has discarded that thesis along with postulated connections with genetics minerals metals food and water The cause his professional career has discarded that thesis along with postulated connections with genetics minerals metals food and water The cause a mystery which is remarkable for a disease that at one point in the 1940s was the leading cause of death among Chamorros But now it is essentially extinct with only some elderly patients still affected no one has acuired the disease since 1951I wouldn t be surprised if the disease is just another taupathy related to abnormalities in the disease since 1951I wouldn t be surprised if the disease is just another taupathy related to abnormalities in MAPT gene Or something But even if it is why when and where did it first appear on Guam and why has it died out I can t help thinking the population bottleneck the Chamorros suffered courtesy of the Spanish had something to do with it but what do I now Perhaps Dr Steele will write the definitive book on this disease I look forward to reading itI was hoping to learn something interesting about Lytico Bodig from Sacks book But I didn t As an admirer of Oliver Sacks s clear inuisitive articles on neurobiology I was saddened to discover that his travelogue of Micronesia is both patronizing and exoticizing Throughout this book Sacks employs the same tone he uses when discussing patients with debilitating medical ailments a Number the Stars kind of sympathetic wonderment at the bizarre feats performed damaged brains Here this tone is applied to entire populations and cultures a This is an absolutely fascinating book by Oliver Sacks Really cool dude See he goes on this trip to the Pacific and there is an island there where a huge chunk of the population is Achromatropic pure colorblindedness as in grayscale and he sets out to that island with an achromatropic friend Then he goes to Guam where there is also a huge density of people with a disease called lytico bodig Oh man the world is so FASCINATING The Earth is ancient and cruel and beautiful That s how it feels after reading this book I KNEW KNEW that Oliver Sacks wouldn t give me informative details on the epidemiology of islands His chatty superficial and self absorbed style made me drop both his Hat and Awakenings books and give it 4 stars anyway out of what charity But this one I bought new with high hopes anyway and it uickly became apparent that there is something seriously wrong with this man By page 30 he d spent several pages talking about his prowess as a swimmer being a Victorian reader who always picked out adventure stories high on style light on substance etc etcWell as Wikipedia so pointedly put it Oliver Sacks is the man who mistook his patients for a book about himself Not only is there according to the New York Times doubt about his clinical accomplishments but the man is pushing on full steam ahead with an autobiography about his greatness Look at his profile page Look at it This man would write about truckdriving if it gave him someind of celebrity Look at the weightlifter That s not him lifting the weightsIf this fool doesn t define an era of self centred pretense over genuine accomplishment I ll eat my hat 1st book for 2020When I was studying psychology in the 1990s I hung out with a lot of people studying clinical neuropsychology where Sacks psychology in the 1990s I hung out with a lot of people studying clinical neuropsychology where Sacks a universally bad reputation great words terrible science was the people smarter than me would always say Because of this I have always sort of avoided reading him but recently just before Christmas I came across and read his book Hallucinations which I really enjoyed and decided to slowly work my way through his works enjoying them as works of writing and not getting to caught up on their scientific veracity This book describes two unrelated trips to the Pacific the first to an island with a large percentage of achromatopes people suffering a genetic mutation which leads to a lack of active cones in the retina forcing them to rely solely on their retina rods for vision Cones are responsible not only for color vision hence the title of the book but also for fine acuity and day vision our night vision is essentially mediated by the rods The second part of the book details a trip to Guam to visit a neurologist studying a mysterious endemic ALS like disease that was thought to perhaps have been caused by the ingestion of flour made by cycad seeds though this has now been discarded Both stories are relatively slight works which have the feeling of being travelog pieces that might appear in some Sunday newspaper supplement Still an enjoyable if uick read. Acks reader Washington Post a work rich in curiosity and compassion and intellectual adventure. .
Read for Boston Public Library Summer Reading Bingo 2020 A true story Oliver Sacks writes beautiful prose and inspires curiosity about the wonders of the human brain through descriptions of neurology problems This is true in all his writing and here too as he describes rare disorders that are concentrated in Pacific Island populations achromatic colorblindness in Pingelap and lytico bodig a degenerative paralysis similar to parkinsonism or ALS in Guam What makes me uncomfortable about this particular book is the ways in which it is very much in the tradition of Eurocentric white saviory exoticizing travelexploration narratives Sacks writes with sympathy about the plight of the Pingelapese Pohnpeian and Chamarro people and the devastation wrought on them by European and American colonialism and genocide yet he never truly seems to see them as complete people on par with the white scientist colleagues he writes about he betrays his worldview for example by writing about such and such white scientist being the first to discover a disease that has been nown in Guam for hundreds of years At the same time Sacks has introduced me in this readable poetic narrative to a number of scientific and historical concepts that were totally unfamiliar to me Before I M Not Ready I m not ready trust him entirely I think the things he says and the way he says them reuire a bit of a critical eye but would I have otherwise researched the history of Guam Probably not Sacks has a talent for making complex topics accessible to a wide variety of audiences I ve loved Oliver Sacks for a long time but up until now I d only read and re read The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars The Island of the Colorblind seemed like a natural next choice for me because it combines my interest in neuropsychology with my interest in island biogeography the study of the way species on islands evolve to become very specialized to the point where an extremely high percentage of the species on any given island may be endemic to that particular island The Island of the Colorblind actually contains two separate but closely related books of about 100 pages each the first being the titular story and a second called Cycad Island The book also contains nearly another 100 pages of endnotes As Sacks says in the opening line of the Preface This book is really two books independent narratives of two

PARALLEL BUT INDEPENDENT JOURNEYS TO MICRONESIA 
but independent journeys to Micronesia The Island of the Colorblind he visits Pingelap and Pohnpei two neighboring islands to study the unusually high incidence of achromatopsia or total colorblindness As one comes to expect from Sacks the text not only explores the condition and its effects on individuals and society but also revels in the botany zoology and history of the islands themselves Sacks is openly fascinated with so many facets of the world that it s hard not to share his excitement and The Island of the Colorblind is a delight to readThe first half of Cycad Island picks up where The Island of the Colorblind left off this time Sacks is visiting Guam to study a mysterious disease nown as lytico bodig While this disease shows similarities to a number of other diseases including Parkinson s it appears to be a separate condition which exists only on Guam and some of its surrounding islands and its cause and treatment at least to the time of Sacks s writing remain unknown However mid way through Cycad Island the focus of the text shifts abruptly from his previous admixture of medicine biology and history to a strict discussion of cycads a ind of primitive plant resembling ferns and palm trees While cycads are closely related to his discussion of lytico bodig it has been suggested that the disease could be caused by toxins in the plants since cycads are favored foods of the Chamorros people of Guam the change in focus is abrupt and the singlemindedness of his discussion does not reflect the charm of Sacks s usual diversity of interests and for the most part becomes uite dryI love Oliver Sacks and charm of Sacks s usual diversity of interests and for the most part becomes uite dryI love Oliver Sacks and d heartily recommend reading anything of his However the sudden change in focus three uarters of the way through The Island of the Colorblind ills the momentum of what is otherwise a delightful book Also the extensive use of notes in this text make it hard to follow the story well either you ignore them which I appear to be unable to do or you stop every few paragraphs to read a full page digression at the back of. From the bestselling author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on. .
The book It seems that Sacks was allowed to wax somewhat overindulgent in this book and for this reason I wouldn t suggest it as the first place to visit Sacks s writing although it s well worth a read if you already Mona Lisa Acelerada know and enjoy his other works Great book Sacks is a superb writer and his enthusiasm bubbles along at a pleasing pace You ll learn about an island where a huge percentage of the folks are born totally colour blind He also checks into a neurological disease on another island again huge percentage of folks affected which causes profound progressive and fatal muscular weaknessWhen I find myself reading bits aloud to my hubby Inow it s a great book We both learned a lot4 Stars It touched my heart andor gave me much food for thought I was about to give this one three stars because I got a bit bored in the late middle Things are less cohesive and less to the point in the fifty pages before the conclusion then I thought they needed to beThen I remembered that I read Sacks because he s a powerful anecdote teller and he makes Neurology a terrifically human and humane pursuit in the telling So maybe what I mean is that
IF I M READING SOMETHING OFF 
I m reading something off Non Fiction Shelf And fiction shelf and get a little choked up Instant bonus star Reading books by Oliver Sacks is so hit or miss This one is a miss I wanted to learn about colorblindness Instead in this book I mostly find a travelogue with some acknowledgement of the colorblind children of various Oceania islands So far what I appreciate of Sacks writingThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical TalesSeeing VoicesBoth these books describe what happens when when a person forgets or misunderstands their world and what they do really really understand when a deaf person gain empowerment as that person learns to communicate with sign language This book would make a good travelogue book Maybe Sacks estate might be able to re cast this information into a delightful we several doctors went to Oceania and saw the sights which included the colorblind folk This is mainly a or less ill informed travelogue by a person interested in neurological diseases The core of the book is Sacks visit to Guam in the 1990s to check out Lytico Bodig disease an ALS like disease once endemic on this islandAlas there s not much to the book Sacks relates a bit about the research of others and his visits to patients with the disease who are under the care of Dr John C SteeleI say ill informed travelogue because his Deaths End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, knowledge of Guam and the other islands he visits seems limited For example he relates a garbled history of the village of Sumay He doesn t seem tonow that it was the site of a US Navy installation as well as the Marine Corps barracks before World War Two or that it was also the site of the Pan American hotel and other PAA facilities where the old flying boat Pan American clippers docked He seems to believe Sumay was a pristine Chamorro village in those days which it most certainly was notAlso Sacks attitude to the military seems rather silly a relic of the hippy dippy sixties and sticking it to the man mentality And he doesn t get that the coral in the waters adjacent to the Navy base are healthier because access is restricted If the Navy let all the locals and tourists in the corals would be severely degraded I can t help thinking Sacks can t be much of a scientist if he doesn t grasp that fact On top of that these days it is the US Navy that is protecting and preserving the threatened cycads that Sacks is so enad with If the Navy had left Guam all those still undeveloped areas would have been bulldozed and turned into resortscondos strip malls and golf courses just like what happened in SaipanSacks description of John Steele s personality and interactions with his Lytico Bodig patients was most interesting to me He describes Steele as highly empathetic and caring however on the vitals website these days However on the Vitals website these days is rated poor with a 10 out of a possible 40 score for what that s worth But he was also fired as the physician director of the Skilled Nursing Unit Guam Memorial Hospital s long term care facility early in 2012 after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid conducted a scathing according to press reports survey of the SNU Well whatevs I guess Sacks has come down in favor of bats eating cycad seeds and concentrating a toxin BMAA that Chamorros who ate the bats got a heavy dose of giving them the Lytico Bodig though he doesn t elaborate on that. Mars comes a delightful inner and outer journey destined to surprise and please the devoted ,
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The Island of the Colourblind

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