Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything

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The author of the book AROUSED, Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D., M.P.H., is very well versed in her subject. Her style is engaging. She has sparse prose and writes with a wry sense of humor, balancing historical facts and poignant tales of real people. This story of the discovery of hormones lurches from one medical charlatan to another, each touting the latest hormone as a sure cure for diminutive stature, loss of libido, menopausal hot flashes, obesity, mixed-up sex signals, cuddling, or other physiological issues. A substance, isolated by hard work, shows some effect in lab animals, then a proponent is off and capitalizing on it until the treatment is shown to cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, and/or a number of other ills. Eventually, it is either remarketed or just dropped. What is surprising is that this process is continuous from the early 1900s with cadaver pituitary gland extractions up to the synthetic testosterone and oxytocin of today. The book title, Aroused, not only refers to the effect of hormones on the body but also the desperate hope ignited in people expecting all life’s ills to be fixed with a little splash of chemical. I very much recommend this book as a warning; the latest fads are often shown to be worse than the problem. The book does explain current thinking on hormones. It also cautions that “current” knowledge often changes.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Randi Hutter Epstein
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date 2018-Jun-26
ISBN 9780393239607
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2018
Category Science & Nature
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