22 August 2008

Dr. Broda Barnes

Dr. Barnes (1904-1988) was a medical doctor and held a Ph.D., which he received before receiving his medical training. In addition to practicing medicine for 50 years, he researched and became an expert in the thyroid gland. His book, Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness, is quite an interesting read. Part medical travelogue, part sitting down for a chat with an old-fashioned, no nonsense doctor, and part memoir, it's an interesting read. It's kind of like How to Raise a Healthy Child, in Spite of Your Doctor, by Dr. Robert Mendelson.

Dr. Barnes' book is extremely logical, something I don't find often in allopathic physicians lately. He thought about things, asked questions, and searched for answers and let us in on the process.  While this book isn't a thriller or even a grab-you-by-the-lapels page-turner, it was definitely worth my time and attention. I like reading these types of books, as long as they're not rabid and shrill, and this one wasn't. I found it fairly enjoyable.

However, if you need to learn about thyroid function because you or a loved one are currently dealing with it, I wouldn't suggest that this should be the only title you read. I have more recommendations, which will come later.

Before his death, Dr. Barnes established a foundation to carry on his work. I ordered their information packet for $18 (partly to obtain the names and contact information of their Arizona members - they sent a list of three - and partly because I wanted more information). Some of the information included was new to me, but most of it wasn't and much of that was outdated and hadn't caught up with the newest research trends (although the newest, alternative, trends in treatment haven't drifted far from Dr. Barnes' practice). The photocopies (not computer printouts) were difficult to read from being so many generations away from the originals. The information wasn't as cutting edge as I'd hoped and as Dr. Barnes' research was at one point. The foundation hasn't sponsored a conference in several years and only processes orders received by fax and snail mail. I don't know if they're resting on his laurels or simply being passed by.

So, in summary, it was a good book, but skip the foundation. I'll have more books and their reviews about this topic soon.


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